RHODE ISLAND Bills Seek to Enact Physician Assistant Licensure Compact

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Monday, February 20, 2023

Bill Name: House Bill 5332 (HB 5332) & Senate Bill 278 (SB 278)

Primary Sponsor: Representatives Rebecca Kislak, David Bennett, Joseph McNamara, Brandon Potter and Cherie Cruz

Status: 2/3/2023 HB 5332 Referred to House Committee on Corporations

2/16/2023 HB 278 Senate Committee on Health and Human Services

AmSpa’s Take: While this is a new effort, if widely adopted, it would improve the employment options of physician assistants (PAs) and greatly reduce the burdens when moving states.

Outlook: These bills are in the first steps of the process but, based on the sponsor’s past record, they have a higher likelihood of passing.

Analysis: Currently, Rhode Island physician assistants (PAs) practice under the supervision of a physician. As in all other states, a PA moving from one state to another would need to apply for a license in their new state. HB 5332 would seek to enact the PA licensure compact and would allow multistate licensure. This has been an ongoing project in nursing, with a large number of states now permitting registered nurses (RNs) to practice in multiple jurisdictions under one license. HB 5332 appears to be the first state to attempt to adopt a similar scheme for PAs.

Obviously, one state being part of a compact doesn’t make it particularly useful for PAs. But, as more states adopt the compact, the usefulness rapidly grows. As a parallel example, the nursing compact makes it relatively easy for RNs to expand their practices into other states or to move to take advantage of opportunities.

This PA compact is a very new trend and Rhode Island would be among the first to be part of it. The similar nursing compact has been adopted in a number of states and has proven very beneficial. Hopefully, the PA version will have similar success. If you would like additional information, to read the language of the bill or to contact the sponsors or committee, you can find the information you need through this link. The organization behind the PA compact is located at https://www.pacompact.org/.