New Bill Would Give Collaborative Practice to PAs in Montana

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Monday, February 15, 2021

A new bill introduced in the Montana House of Representatives would allow physician assistants (PAs) to form collaboration agreements with physicians or with certain health care facilities. The bill, known as House Bill 400 (HB 400), can be read in full here. Currently, HB 400 is assigned to the Human Services Committee for further consideration. The primary sponsor of the bill is Representative Terry Moore.
Currently, PAs in Montana must practice under a board-approved supervision agreement with a physician. Their scope of practice and prescriptive authority are outlined in these written agreements. HB 400 would change this relationship to one of collaboration. The bill would require that PAs now enter into written collaboration agreements with physicians, which describe the overall working relationship, the collaborative arrangement, and the scope of services to be provided. Alternatively, PAs who have credentials and privileges at a hospital or critical access hospital would not necessarily need to separately collaborate with a physician to practice. This collaborative relationship would not require the physical presence of the physician, as long as they can be easily in contact for communication.
Under this new bill, PAs would be professionally and legally responsible for the care they provide. This scope of services can include:
PAs under this structure would have prescriptive authority and be able to separately bill for their services. While in practical terms, PAs are presently able to perform many of these tasks under supervision, HB 400 would simplify the requirements for practice and give PAs a measure of autonomy. This bill would not give practice independence, as either the collaborative agreement or hospital-based requirements are still present. However, this would be a step forward in the national trend to reduce practice restrictions on PAs and other advanced practitioners.
We will be monitoring HB 400 as it advances though the Montana legislative process this year.