SB 6445: Washington State Adds PAs to State's Mental Health Code

PAs in Washington State are celebrating Gov. Jay Inslee's recent signing of SB 6445 which adds PAs to 22 sections of the state's mental health code.
The bill's key changes include:

  • Adding PAs to the definitions of "mental health professional" and "developmental disabilities professional," 
  • Allowing PAs to be court appointed to examine and testify on behalf of certain mental health patients, 
  • Authorizing PAs to sign petitions for specified involuntary detentions,
  • Authorizing PAs to make determinations of incapacity, and 
  • Adding PAs throughout the Mental Health Advance Directive form.

SB 6445 becomes effective June 8, 2016. 

View photos of the signing.

As of April 2013, SB 1737 and SB 5524 PASSED!

WAPA went to Olympia to testify for Senate Bill 1737 and on April 4, 2013 SB 5524 passed the legislature! On April 22, 2013 SB 1737 passed as well!

SB 1737 will allow Physician Assistants in Washington to do 3 things:

  1. First it will increase the number of PAs a Physician can supervise from 3 to 5
  2. It will also allow PAs to practice in remote site without the supervising Physician being there at least 10% of the time
  3. Lastly the name "Practice Plan" (which is the document PAs have to submit to MQAC and BOOMS) will be changed to "Delegation Agreement".

SB 5524 will now allow prescriptions from PAs in other states, particularly the ones bordering our state, to be accepted by pharmacies in Washington.

Physician Supervision Rules for 2011: Greater Flexibility in Location of Supervising Practitioner for Off-Campus Provider-Based Department (January 13, 2011)

On November 24, 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") published the final rule governing policies and payments made under the Outpatient Prospective Payment System for calendar year 2011 ("Final Rule"). In addition to other changes, the Final Rule significantly revises the practitioner supervision requirements for "incident to" therapeutic services and diagnostic tests requiring "direct supervision" by removing any geographical limitations on where a physician must be located, whether on- or off-campus. Rather, the only limitation is that the physician be in close enough proximity to be "immediately available to furnish assistance and direction throughout the performance of the procedure."

WAPA and AAPA join with Virginia Mason and Group Health to Remove Possible Practice Restriction August 12, 2010

In June, Virginia Mason Medical Center agreed to change a policy which had limited admission H and Ps to only PAs credentialed at Virginia Mason. After Virginia Mason and their affiliate Group Health consulted with the Washington Academy of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants, this was changed to allow all PA-Cs who are licensed in the state of Washington to perform such H and Ps, provided that these are within the scope of the PA-Cs practice. Thanks to Group Health, Virginia Mason, WAPA staff/members who were involved, and the AAPA for coming together and finding a common-sense solution.