New Bill Would Give Increased Practice Options to PAs in Louisiana

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, April 9, 2021

A new bill in the Louisiana House of Representatives would allow physician assistants (PAs) to form collaboration agreements with physicians. The bill’s lead sponsor is Representative Larry Bagley, and it is known as House Bill 442 (HB 442); you can read the bill in full here. HB 442 has initially been referred to the House Health and Welfare Committee for further consideration.
Currently, PAs in Louisiana must practice under the supervision of a physician. Their scope of practice and prescriptive authority are defined by this supervisory relationship. HB 442 would replace this with a “physician assistant certified” (PA-C) license, the holder of which practices according to a practice agreement between themselves and the practice site. To become a PA-C a person must pass a national PA certification exam administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. The PA-C would not collaborate with physicians and other health care providers, but would be able to prescribe, tests, treatments, medications—including Schedule II-V controlled substances—and therapeutic devices and measures, as well as assisting in surgery. This scope of practice would be determined by the PA’s education, training and experience, and as defined in the new practice agreement. PAs would be able to work in health care organizations, health care facilities, private or group practices, medical corporations, and other health care facilities. These practice sites would be charged with approving the duties and scope of practice outlined in the practice agreements.
There has been a national trend of giving greater autonomy to advanced practitioners, either by allowing them to practice without required physician supervision or by reducing the amount of oversight needed. HB 442 is certainly in line with that trend—it does away with the formal supervisory relationship, but still requires an agreement with the practice site.
We will be monitoring HB 442 as it advances though the Louisiana legislative process this year.