Rhode Island Bill Would Allow PAs to Collaborate with Physicians

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Monday, June 10, 2019

A bill introduced in Rhode Island seeks to change the relationship between physician assistants (PAs) and physicians. It is sponsored by representatives David A. Bennett, John G. Edwards and Grace Diaz, and it is known as House Bill 5572 (H 5572); you can review the text of the bill in full here. It has passed the House and received a favorable recommendation from the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and it now awaits consideration by the entire Senate.
H 5572 would allow PAs to practice in collaboration with—instead of under the supervision of—a physician. Currently, PAs must have a written job description with a physician that determines their delegated scope of practice and ability to prescribe. If passed, the bill would require that PAs practice in collaboration with physicians; the degree of collaboration is determined by the practice and includes decisions made by a physician employer or practice group, licensed hospital or other health care center. In order for a physician to practice in collaboration with a PA, he or she must be available for consultation at all times.
Under H 5572, PAs would be able to provide any medical service that is within their skill and for which they have sufficient education and training. 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 in written agreements. This bill is right in line with that trend.
We will be monitoring H 5572 as it comes before Rhode Island’s Senate in the coming days. Senate Bill 443 is a similar bill that originated in the Senate but has not advanced as far as H 5572. If you would like to contact H 5572’s sponsors, they can be reached via their pages of the General Assembly’s website.