More Physician Assistants Allowed To Work In Washington Under New Law

Puget_Sound_Business_Journal_Logo_WebA new state law that took effect this week in Washington allows more physician assistants to work with doctors.

The change could help mitigate the shortage of primary care providers that’s anticipated next year when the state expands Medicaid and other health reforms kick in.

Physician assistants are nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine. They can perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses, order lab tests and perform other tasks. In Washington and elsewhere, they’ve become more common.

Previously, Washington state limited the number of assistants that a physician could supervise to three, but the new law allows for five assistants per doctor. Physicians could also petition for a waiver to the limit.

The new law also no longer requires physicians to be on site for 10 percent of the time that a physician assistant is practicing medicine.

Nationally, health industry experts are concerned that offering health care coverage to millions of people who’ve gone without insurance could place a major burden on primary care providers. Physician assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners have been looked to as part of the solution to that problem.

The full article is located at Puget Sound Business Journal

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