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Calling Washington PAs!

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Sharing an email for all of you Washington state PAs: 

In case you missed it, Washington Academy of PAs (WAPA) is asking for support to advance PA practice in the state. Here's a summary of recent events:

  • December 2016 - Michigan signed into law Public Act 379 which removed delegation of authority by physicians and eliminated supervision requirements.1
  • May 2017 - AAPA House of Delegates (HOD) adopted a new policy called Optimal Team Practice (OTP). (https://www.aapa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/FAQ_Optimal-Team-Practice.pdf)
  • June 2017 - West Virginia passed SB1014 which replaced the concept of "supervising physician" to "collaborating physician."2
  • July 2017 - Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) from Tennessee submitted a proposal HB 1771 to WA state to establish a new health profession called Doctor of Medical Science, promoting their new doctorate degree program.
  • July 2017 - WAPA opposed LMU's proposal and began efforts to review PA practice laws in Washington, deciding to partner with physicians at the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA).3
  • September 2017 - In preparation for WSMA's HOD meeting in October, the Young Physicians group of WSMA submitted Resolution B-7 which proposes that PAs remain under the "supervision" of physicians, among other things.(https://wapa.memberclicks.net/assets/documents/eblast/092017%20resolution%20b7.pdf)

1 http://www.michiganpa.org/?page=currentissues




So, WAPA is requesting Washington PAs write a letter of opposition to Resolution B-7 to WSMA so that WAPA and WSMA may continue discussions of removing barriers to PA practice. At the end of this email is a template letter that you can edit and email to wsma@wsma.org to show your support. You may also encourage MD/DO friends and colleagues to submit a letter to WSMA.


Washington State Medical Association
2001 6th Avenue, Suite 2700
Seattle, WA 98121

(Your name), PA-C
(Your address)

To the WSMA House of Delegates, Reference Committee B:

As a ________ (specialty) physician assistant, I have the pleasure of working with numerous medical professionals including physicians, residents, and medical students. I also precept and instruct medical and physician assistant students. In short, I respect and support strengthening the PA-Physician relationship.

That is why I urge WSMA to oppose resolution B-7.

This resolution is unnecessary. WSMA has already convened a work group with WAPA to investigate barriers to PA workforce participation and potential solutions. We should let them do their job.

This resolution is based on a misunderstanding of fact and seems to arise from a belief that PAs filed legislation in Washington to seek independent practice. This is not true. HB 1771 was filed by a Tennessee college to try to generate business for a new program. Seehttp://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/2000/appReport.pdf. The Tennessee program has now withdrawn their request to create a new health profession in Washington State--it's over and done. 

The truth is PAs in Washington went on the record opposed the "doctor of medical sciences" idea to create a new independent health profession. See p. 73 of commentshttp://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/2000/WrittenComments.pdf. There is no reason to punish Washington’s PAs for a bad idea from an out-of-state school.

Most of this resolution re-states existing Washington law:
· Existing law requires PAs to practice under physician supervision. RCW 18.71A.010; RCW 18.57A.010.
· Existing law requires MQAC to review each PA delegation agreement to assure legal compliance and public safety. RCW 10.71A.030; RCW 18.57A.030.
· Existing law requires physicians to take responsibility for any PAs working under their license. RCW 18.71A.030; RCW 18.57A.030.
· Existing law addresses MQAC's responsibility to assure physician oversight and public safety for any PA working in a remote site. RCW 18.71A.035; RCW 18.57A.035.

Paying physicians to supervise PAs is complicated—let the WSMA/WAPA work group study it without imposing one solution. Individual physicians might be more willing to supervise PAs if they were paid for it. Health systems and clinics might be less willing to hire PAs if that involved additional costs. Both physician attitudes and health system policies may be creating barriers to full employment opportunities for PAs. The WSMA/WAPA work group is the best way to investigate and recommend solutions.

As a PA, this resolution devalues the role of PAs in the medical team practice, which is what this resolution states. Chiropractors, naturopaths or nurse practitioners do not work with physicians like PAs do. I have dedicated my career to working with my physician colleagues to provide high quality care for patients. I want to be on the team to help get the job done. This resolution hurts.

Please reject this resolution and let the WSMA/WAPA work group finish its analysis of PA workforce barriers.


(Your name), PA-C

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