MONTANA Bill Would Bring Physician Assistants Independence

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Bill Name: House Bill 313 (HB 313)

Primary Sponsor: Representative Jodee Etchart

Status: 4/3/2023 Passed House and Senate- heading to Governor

AmSpa’s Take: Allowing advanced practitioners such as physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) to practice to the level of their education and skill, without the need to maintain cumbersome chart review and meeting requirements, frees up time and resources that can be better spent seeing patients, improving their skills and developing their practices. Independence also allows these practitioners to innovate in new practice areas through owning their own practices.

Outlook: This bill is in the first steps of the process but, based on the sponsor’s past record, it has a lower likelihood of passing.

Analysis: Currently, Montana 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 supervision agreement, which lays out what is authorized. Under HB 313, PAs would no longer need a physician supervisor to oversee their practice.

PAs would be able to diagnose and treat patients, obtain informed consent, supervise and delegate tasks to others, certify disability and authenticate any document that a physician could authenticate. The PAs would be able to practice and perform these tasks as independent practitioners without needing another licensee to authorize or oversee them.

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. Most states have begun to provide reduced oversight or more flexibility, but still retain the physician oversight. HB 313 would be at the leading edge of this trend in providing full autonomy. 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 this link.