MO physician assistants fight for looser restrictions

A bill traveling through the Missouri state legislature is getting vigorous support from physician assistants (PAs), who feel that new rules loosening supervision requirements in rural and inner-city communities could make a big difference for patients in those areas. Right now, in most cases a physician must be physically present in a facility when a PA is providing care, other than some follow-up visits. Another state policy allows PAs to practice in areas where there are a shortage of primary medical care providers, known as Health Professional Shortage Areas. Right now, the Board of Healing Arts, which is responsible for regulating doctors and PAs, plans to remove the HPSA supervision exception, but the law would block them from doing so. If the HPSA exception is removed, many rural PAs would be forced to stop providing care for much of their day, given physician shortages in these areas, according to the Missouri Academy of Physician Assistants.

For additional background on the Missouri bill, HB 467:
- see this press release