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Governors Push to Expand Role of PAs, Telemedicine

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 29, 2014
The American Medical Association says it supports the National Governors Association's recommendations, which "closely align with AMA's policy supporting healthcare teams that draw on telemedicine and the unique strengths of physicians and physician assistants."
The National Governors Association says states should review and consider easing scope-of-practice restrictions on physician assistants so they can help with growing patient workloads anticipated under healthcare reform and the Medicaid expansion.
"PAs are an important component of developing strategies to deliver healthcare more efficiently and effectively," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said in prepared remarks accompanying the release of The Role of Physician Assistants in Health Care Delivery.

"Finding ways to eliminate the regulatory barriers that exist for PAs is crucial to growing the profession," he said.
The report identifies barriers that prevent PAs from practicing at the top of their license, and offers suggestions for state policy leaders who are trying to maximize the efficiencies of their PA workforce.
For starters, the NGA report says states should review their existing laws and regulatory framework for PAs to ensure they aren't antiquated, unduly narrow, or overly burdensome on the profession, and that they're not restricting the future supply of PAs.

In addition, the report recommends that all states grant PAs legal standing to provide care under laws governing medical practice. The report also recommends that states create greater educational opportunities for PAs.