WHA's Support of Physician Assistant Reform Bill Helps Move Legislation Forward

February 06, 2020

The Assembly Health Committee held a public hearing Feb. 5 on legislation reforming Wisconsin’s statutes and regulations pertaining to the licensure of physician assistants. The legislation, Assembly Bill 575, has already received action in the State Senate with a public hearing held earlier this year, and is expected to receive bipartisan approval in Assembly Health next week.

Assembly Bill 575 creates a new physician assistant licensure statute and addresses inconsistent physician assistant delegation provisions that are currently a barrier to efficient team-based care. Under the bill, physician assistant staffing ratios and physician presence licensure requirements would be eliminated, while retaining physician oversight of individual physician assistant practice either through employment or a written collaborative agreement.

WHA provided in-person testimony to the committee, in addition to written comments.

“WHA has had a history of developing and pursuing legislation to reduce unnecessary regulatory complexity and burden impacting modern, team-based care models while also preserving safeguards to preserve Wisconsin’s high-quality care, including legislation that removes outdated regulations limiting physician assistant and nurse practitioner practice,” WHA General Counsel Matthew Stanford and WHA Vice President, Workforce and Clinical Practice Ann Zenk said in remarks to the committee.

Stanford and Zenk continued by saying the final version of the legislation is “a good balance of reducing regulatory burden on physician assistants, physicians, hospitals and health systems, while also preserving the important role of physicians in a team-based care delivery model and other safeguards to preserve high-quality care in Wisconsin.”

In testimony to the committee, Representatives of the Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants publicly commended the “muchappreciated cooperation from the Wisconsin Hospital Association” to achieve consensus on final bill language.

WHA expects Assembly Bill 575 to be amended, with WHA’s support, during the committee’s executive action on the bill next week. The State Assembly is set to act the week of Feb. 17, in what many expect to be the last floor period for the Assembly before adjourning the 2019-20 legislative session.

This story originally appeared in the February 06, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter