Bill expanding scope of physician assistants ready for Governor’s desk
The House passed the bill in a near unanimous vote.

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The bill would allow 10 physicians assistants to work under a doctor, up from 4.

A new law to expand the scope of physician assistants passed both chambers.

The bill passed the House in a near unanimous vote, in an 111-1 vote. Only Rep. Omari Hardy voted against the bill. The bill passed the Senate in a 38-2 vote with Sen. Audrey Gibson and Sen. Gary Farmer casting the dissenting votes.

The bill is now ready for the Governor’s desk. If passed the new law would take effect July 1.

The bill would allow 10 physicians assistants to work under a doctor, up from the current ratio of four physician assistants to one doctor. Physician assistants would also be allowed to sign and authenticate any document a physician can, like Baker Act commitments, do-not-resuscitate orders, school physicals and death certificates.

The bill carves out an exception for medical marijuana. Those licenses would still be left to doctors.

Additionally, the bill would expand the role of physician assistants by allowing them to procure certain medical equipment and devices and supervise medical assistants.

The bill also updates education and licensing requirements for physician assistants. Most programs are three years long and require students to have health care experience as a condition for admission. A physician assistant student must also complete about 2,000 hours of clinical rotations, with an emphasis on primary care, but rotations can also include family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine, or psychiatry.

Under the bill new education guidelines would require physician assistant programs to be accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc.

Physician assistants are regulated by the Florida Council on Physician Assistants in conjunction with either the Board of Medicine for PAs, or the Board of Osteopathic Medicine for Pas.

The bill (HB 431) was carried by Naples Republican Rep. Bob Rommel in the House and Sen. Manny Diaz in the Senate.

Haley Brown

Haley Brown covers state government for Previously, Haley covered the West Virginia Legislature and anchored weekend newscasts for WVVA in Bluefield, W.Va. Haley is a Florida native and a graduate of the University of Florida. You can reach her at [email protected].


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