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URGENT matter for MASS PA's - this is a great opportunity to really make a difference

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As I relayed earlier this week, the Massachusetts Senate released its version of the cost containment legislation yesterday - SB2260, An Act improving the quality of health care and reducing costs through increased transparency, efficiency and innovation.

The Senate bill makes important changes that will allow PAs to practice as primary care providers, nearly identical to the House cost containment bill. Unfortunately, a number of key changes made to PA practice under the House bill are not included in SB2260. Please find an analysis of the legislation below:

Positive Changes - Senate Cost Containment Changes for PAs

  • Consumer Choice of PA Services -Requires that all carriers recognize PAs as participating providers and shall include coverage on a nondiscriminatory basis for care provided by PA for the purposes of health maintenance, diagnosis and treatment. Such coverage shall include benefits for primary care, intermediate care and inpatient care, including care provided in a hospital, clinic, professional office, home care setting, long-term care setting, mental health or substance abuse program, or any other setting when rendered by a PA who is a participating provider
  • Primary Care Provider Status - Grants PAs primary care provider status similar to our NP counterparts. In addition to helping to meet workforce shortages in primary care throughout the state, this change should make it possible for PAs to field a panel of patients as health care transitions from fee-for-service to global payments and similar models.

Unfortunately, the following changes that were included in the House bill are not part of the Senate cost containment legislation:

  • Supervision– Makes no changes to the number of PAs (currently 4) a physician can supervise. The House completely eliminates any restrictions on the number of PAs that a physician can supervise at any one time.
  • Prescriptive Practice – The House bill eliminates the requirement that any prescription written by a PA include the name of the supervising physician. As you know, many PAs have several supervising physicians, making the requirement an administrative burden. The Senate bill makes no changes to this provision.
  • Board of Registration– Unlike the House bill, SB2260 does not clarify that PAs practice under a license. The House bill updates the following definition: Physician assistant, a person who is duly registered (adds) “ and licensed” by the board.
  • Medical Malpractice: PAs are not including in the section prohibiting an apology for adverse outcomes from being used against a provider in a court of law. Unfortunately, PAs were left off the list of providers covered under this section. We are certainly seeking to amend this section to include PAs.
  • Health Care Workforce Center: PAs are not included in this center established to improve access to services and monitor trends in NPs and “other physician and nurse providers” as primary care providers. We strongly advocated for this change and know that barriers to primary care cannot be eliminated without active consideration and study being given to PAs’ role in the field.

Fortunately, two of PAs’ strongest advocates in the Senate – Senator Fred Berry and Senator Harriette Chandler – are filing amendments to add PAs to the provisions above before the bill is debated on Tuesday, May 15th. We are asking that you call your Senator today and request that they co-sponsor the Berry and Chandler Amendments.


Please Take Action Today


1. You can identify your State Senator, and his or her contact information, by clicking here - http://www.malegislature.gov/People/Search

2. Call and ask to speak to your State Senator. If they are not available, ask to speak with a legislative aide. Here’s what to say:

·My name is ­­______________ and I am a physician assistant who lives in your district.

·I understand that a new version of the health care cost containment legislation was just released in the Senate. I am calling to thank the Senate for granting PAs PCP status. However, there are a number of important changes that need to be made to the bill in order for PAs to practice at our fullest potential under new cost containment models.

·I would like to request that the Senator co-sponsor the Berry PA amendments that make technical changes to PA practice and add PAs to the Health Care Workforce Center; and the Chandler PA amendment to add PAs to the list of providers whose apology to an individual or family cannot be used against them in a court of law.

·Please contact Senator Berry and Senator Chandler’s office as soon as possible in order to sign-on and find out more information. Thank you.

3. Once you’ve made your call, please take one more moment to contact us and inform us of their response by emailing our government affairs consultant at jbolduc@charlesgroupconsulting.com.

Thank you,

Heather Trafton, PA-C

This e-mail alert is being sent to you by the AAPA at the request of your state chapter. The Massachusetts Association of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants: Partners in State Advocacy.

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