Health PolicyPA Practice

The PA Licensure Compact is Growing! These 2 States Just Added

With the addition of Minnesota and Tennessee, 12 US states now participate in a licensing compact for Physician Associates/Assistants. While most states have some sort of compact for other health professions, PAs are just getting theirs started.

As per usual, PAs lag the nursing lobby. 42 states have an enhanced nursing licensure compact while 40 states have such an agreement for physicians.

A national licensing compact for physician assistants (PAs) is important for several reasons:

  • Mobility and Flexibility: A national compact allows PAs to move across state lines and practice in multiple states without having to go through the time-consuming and costly process of obtaining a new license for each state. This is particularly beneficial in times of crisis, such as natural disasters or pandemics, when there is a sudden need for healthcare providers in specific areas.
  • Standardization: It helps standardize licensure requirements, ensuring that all PAs meet a common set of professional standards. This can improve the quality of care and patient safety.
  • Addressing Workforce Shortages: By facilitating the movement of PAs between states, a national compact can help address workforce shortages in underserved areas, ensuring that more patients have access to care.
  • Telehealth Expansion: With the growing importance of telehealth, a national compact would allow PAs to provide telehealth services to patients in multiple states without facing legal and regulatory hurdles.

The PA Licensure Compact will help Physician Associates who travel or relocate regularly such as military spouses. PAs who practice near multiple state borders will also benefit. Participation in the compact is completely optional. The AAPA gives the following use case:

Take, for example, a PA who currently holds a license and practices in three states. If these three states join the PA compact, the PA would no longer need to apply for an individual license in each state. The PA would be able to maintain a license in one state and apply for a privilege to practice through a single application in the others. This would significantly reduce administrative burdens and may reduce licensing fees for the PA. However, most importantly, it would reduce delays to providing patient care and increase patient access, as the PA could see patients in all three jurisdictions.

Are There Any Concerns About a Licensing Compact for Physician Associates?

While there are many benefits to a national licensing compact, PAs might have some concerns, including:

  • Autonomy and Scope of Practice: There might be concerns about how the compact could affect the autonomy and scope of practice for PAs in different states, as some states have varying regulations and levels of autonomy for PAs.
  • Implementation and Costs: The process of implementing a national compact can be complex and costly, and there may be concerns about how these costs will be covered and whether they will impact PAs directly.
  • Consistency in Regulation: Ensuring that the compact maintains consistent and high standards of regulation across all states could be a challenge, and there might be concerns about variations in enforcement and oversight.

Overall, while a national licensing compact offers significant advantages for mobility, standardization, and addressing healthcare needs, PAS need to stay informed and involved in the process to ensure that their interests and professional standards are adequately represented and protected.

The other 10 states that have already passed PA compact legislation include Delaware, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Nebraska, Virginia, Oklahoma, Maine, and Colorado.

7 states currently have legislation pending: Michigan (H.B. 5117), New Hampshire (S.B. 486), New York (S.B. 7711 / A.B. 8172), North Carolina (S.B. 879/H.B. 1056), Ohio (S.B. 28), Rhode Island (H.B. 7083), and Vermont (H.B. 572).

Stay up-to-date with state-by-state updates in PA practice laws.

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