MARYLAND Bills Would Allow Physician Assistants to Collaborate

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Bill Name: House Bill 727 (HB 727) and Senate Bill 673 (SB 673)

Primary Sponsor: Representative Ken Kerr, Senators Mary Beth Carozza, and Kathy Klausmeier

Status: HB 727: 2/14/2023 Hearing 3/06 in House Committee on Health and Government Operations

SB 673: 2/8/2023 Hearing on 3/14 Senate Committee on Finance

AmSpa’s Take: Reducing the amount of regulation and paperwork with which advanced practitioners such as physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) need to comply to practice frees up time and resources that can be better spent seeing patients, improving their skills and developing their practices.

Outlook: These bills are in the first steps of the process but have a higher likelihood of passing based on the sponsorship.

Analysis: Currently, Maryland physician assistants (PAs) practice under the supervision of a physician. This supervising physician delegates the health care tasks that the PA may perform. The relationship is formalized using a written delegation agreement, which lays out what tasks and medications are authorized. Under HB 727, PAs would add an option to work in collaboration with a physician or other group.

HB 727 would require PAs to complete a “collaboration registration” with a physician or group of physicians, or with a health care facility that contracts or credentials with physicians. This registration is filed with the Maryland Board of Physicians. The degree of collaboration is determined at the practice level and may involve decisions by a medical group, hospital service, physician, employer of the PA, or the credentialing and privileging system of a licensed health care facility. PAs would ultimately be responsible for the services they perform. For newly licensed PAs, the registration document would also need to name a physician who will collaborate and consult with the PA for the first 18 months. Currently, HB 727 doesn’t have any set meeting or direct oversight requirements for the PA. HB 727 in its present form allows for administrative rules to more clearly define the bounds and requirements of this collaboration.

The majority of states allow nurse practitioners to practice independently. More recently, many states have been giving more freedom and autonomy to PAs. as well. HB 727 and SB 673 are squarely within this trend. If you would like additional information, to read the language of the bill or to contact the sponsors or committee, you can find the information you need through these links: HB 727 and SB 673.