Advocacy
August 26, 2021 | PA practice laws during COVID19

August 26, 2021 | PA Laws Update

Washington Academy of Physician Assistants (WAPA) would like to assist you in understanding the changes in physician assistant (PA) practice laws during the COVID-19 pandemic under Governor Jay Inslee’s proclamation 20-05 and 20-321 . As you are probably aware, these proclamations were put in place early in the pandemic and have been continuously renewed. With the expected escalation in infections, we expect them to remain active until further notice.

The Washington Medical Commission made a clarifying statement when Proclamation 20-32 took effect: Section ‘C’ of the proclamation relates to physician assistant practice, both allopathic and osteopathic. The Governor waived all requirements for the following:

  • Laws and rules relating to remote site restrictions (As of July 1, 2021, with the passage of SHB 2378, all remote site restrictions are permanently removed from PA practice laws)
  • Laws and rules relating to physician supervision ratios • Laws and rules relating to delegation agreement requirements
  • Rules relating to CME requirements for license renewals including: o Seven hours of HIV/AIDs training o Suicide prevention training
  • Rules relating to compensation restrictions and CME requirements for retired active PAs

    Additionally, the WMC conducted emergency rulemaking to remove requirements for retired active physician assistants to encourage their return to practice. The WMC removed the compensation limitation and CME requirements, effective immediately.

    The effect of the Governor’s Proclamation and WMC emergency rulemaking is physician assistants may be utilized in any area of medicine for which they are competent to practice. There is no requirement for delegation agreements to employ or utilize a physician assistant and there are no remote site or supervision ratio restrictions that limit their use. The requirement of the physician assistant to be a part of a healthcare team and take responsibility for their professional actions remains in effect.

    As of July 1, 2021, with the passage of SHB 2378, delegation agreements were to be agreed upon at the practice level and copies sent to the Commission, however, the governor’s proclamation waives even this requirement while the proclamation is in effect. However, WAPA recommends that if a PA leaves a practice, that the Commission be notified that the delegation agreement is cancelled. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact the WAPA office at (206) 956-3624 or at [email protected]

    1 Proclamation 20-05 declared a state of emergency. Proclamation 20-32, relates to healthcare worker licensing and reduces or waives certain PA requirements during the state of emergency. SCR 84-02 extended proclamation 20-32 until the termination of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 State of Emergency or until rescinded by gubernatorial or legislative action.
 
WAPA PA Senate bill 2378

WAPA PA Senate Bill 2378 | SB 2378  Effective July 1, 2021

WAPA PA Bill 2378 takes effect on July 1, 2021.

There are four major components of SB 2378:

  • Moves the Delegation Agreements to the practice level; you only need to send a copy to the Washington Medical Commission (WMC).
  • It changes physician/PA ratios to 10:1; if your practice already has a “waiver” for more, you do not need to resubmit.
  • It removes remote site restrictions; 
  • It removes duplicate regulatory structures for PAs working with MDs and DOs by placing all PAs under the Medical Commission. (7/1/21 no new licenses issued from the Osteopathic Board (BOOMS) – transition will be final by July 1, 2022)

Read more on Substitute House Bill 2378: Substitute HB 2378

Read more by the Washington Medical Commission: WMC Newsletter | PA Report

WMC Update | Winter 2020

Washington Medical Commission (WMC) language required on the new delegation agreements WMC DA

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