New Bill Would Grant Independent Practice to Physician Assistants in Hawaii

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Friday, February 1, 2019

A new bill introduced in Hawaii would allow physician assistants (PAs) to practice without the need for physician supervision. The bill is introduced in the House of Representatives and sponsored by Representative Henry Aquino. You can review the text of House Bill 1560 (HB 1560) in full here
HB 1560 proposes sweeping changes to Hawaii current Physician Assistant Law. Currently, PAs in Hawaii practice under the supervision of a physician who determines the PA’s scope of practice and prescriptive authority. HB 1560 would redefine the PA’s scope of practice to 1) provide any medical services which they are prepared for, 2) to be fully responsible for the care they provide, 3) be include alongside physicians and other practitioners in relevant laws, 4) and to consult and collaborate with other members of a healthcare team under the concept of  “optimal team practice.” Optimal Team Practice is a concept promoted by the American Academy of Physician Assistants and is defined in the bill as the PAs ability to consult with physicians and other medical professionals as driven by the patient’s needs and the PAs professional judgment. HB 1560 would still require that PAs collaborate with physicians but with the goal of physician serving as a resource meant to strengthen the patient care provided by the physician-PA team. And in other respects, the PA is treated as an independent medical professional who is able to form patient care relationships, practice through telemedicine, and prescribe schedule II-IV controlled substances all in accordance with their training, education, and competency.  
The national trend has been towards modernizing the PA’s practice arraignment by creating more flexibility instead being dependent on a single physician for the authority to practice. In that regard, HB 1560 is right in line with that trend and if passed would give Hawaii’s PAs among the fewest practice restrictions in the country.
We will be monitoring HB 1560 as it works its way through Hawaii’s legislative process this year. If you would like to contact HB 1560’s sponsor, he can be reached via the legislature’s website .