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States Encouraged to Use Physician Assistant Workforce

State legislation should work to increase supply of PAs, allow them to play significant role

MONDAY, Oct. 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physician assistants (PAs) have an important role in the provision of health care and their role should be encouraged by appropriate state legislation, according to a report from the National Governors Association.

PAs deliver medical and surgical care in teams with physicians, who supervise and delegate tasks to PAs. The scope of practice for PAs is determined by state laws and regulations and encompasses the type of services they can provide and circumstances in which they can provide them.

According to the report, states should review the laws and regulations to increase the use of the PA workforce and should consider actions to increase the future supply of PAs. States that do not currently grant PAs legal standing to provide care should consider including PAs as medical service providers in laws and regulation governing medical practice. In addition, states should assess whether laws or regulations governing the scope of practice are sufficiently broad to allow PAs to play a significant role in the provision of medical care. States should also encourage greater educational opportunities for PAs.

"PAs are an important component of developing strategies to deliver health care more efficiently and effectively," Washington State Governor Jay Inslee said in a National Governors Association news release. "Finding ways to eliminate the regulatory barriers that exist for PAs is crucial to growing the profession."

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