Pittman’s Bills Supporting Physician Assistants Head to Governor

With unanimous votes, the Senate today (September 29) sent to the governor Senator Joe Pittman’s Senate Bill 397, which amends the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act, and Senate Bill 398, which amends the Medical Practice Act of 1985, to help physician assistants work and practice with increased efficiency in Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania is one of the premier states for physician assistant education with more than 20 programs currently in the state,” said Senator Pittman (R-41). “While many physician assistants receive their education from programs here, current law makes it less appealing for them to stay in Pennsylvania. These bills will reform the law to encourage more physician assistants to practice in the Commonwealth, which will enhance the diverse range of medical professionals across our healthcare delivery system.”

Some of the changes include eliminating the requirement for a physician assistant to provide medical care and services under the direction of a physician, who instead will supervise the activities of the physician assistant as they provide medical services as spelled out in a written agreement with the supervising physician.

Senate Bills 397 and 398 also streamline the written agreement, which will now identify the primary supervising physician, describe the physician assistant’s scope of practice and describe the nature and degree of supervision the primary supervising physician will provide the physician assistant. Additionally, the two bills increase the ratio of the number of physician assistants a physician can supervise from four to six in all practice settings, and they prohibit an employer or entity from requiring a physician to supervise more physician assistants when the physician, in his or her clinical judgement, determines that supervising more physician assistants will negatively impact patient care or the supervision of other physician assistants.

Audio of Senator Pittman’s comments about the bills.


Contact:           Jeremy Dias                jdias@pasen.gov

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