New Bills Would Change Supervisory Relationship for PAs in Pennsylvania

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Two new bills introduced in Pennsylvania would alter the relationship between the state’s physician assistants (PAs) and their supervising physicians. The bills are sponsored by Senator John R. Gordner and are known as Senate Bills 698 (SB 698) and 699 (SB 699). You can review the text of SB 698 in full here and SB 699 here. As they both address different parts of the same goal, we will discuss them together and use SB 698 to refer to both bills. The bills have been referred to the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee for further consideration.
Currently, PAs may enter supervision agreements with multiple physicians. There doesn’t currently seem to be a limit to how many physicians a PA may partner with, as long as each physician informs the board as to the relationship. Under SB 698, PAs would only be able to enter into a practice agreement with one primary supervising physician. The PA also would have the option of including one substitute physician to provide supervision if the primary physician is unavailable. While both supervising physicians must register with the board, the substitute is limited to providing supervision for no more than 30 consecutive days. The written practice agreements describe how the supervising physician will utilize the PA, must be signed by the PA and both physicians, and must be submitted to the Board of Medicine for approval.
The national trend has been moving toward allowing PAs more practice freedom, either by moving to a collaborative relationship with physicians or doing away with strict requirements for written agreements. SB 698 is a step against this trend and, if passed, would reduce Pennsylvania PAs options in their practice.
We will be monitoring SB 698 as it works its way through Pennsylvania’s legislative process this year. If you would like to contact the bill’s sponsor, he can be reached via his page of the legislature’s website.