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April 17, 2017


House Speaker Tim Armstead           Senate President Lt. Governor Mitch Carmichael
Room 228M, Bldg 1                            Room 299M, Bldg 1
State Capitol Complex                        State Capitol Complex
Charleston, WV  25305                      Charleston, WV 25305


Subject:  Senate Bill 347 – Modernization of the PA Practice Act (SB347)


PAs for Tomorrow (PAFT), a special interest group of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), urges you to include SB347 in the next Special Session of the West Virginia legislature. 

PAFT represents the national interests of our PA members. We understand that West Virginia’s balanced budget bill is critically important to all of the citizens of your state and will be a primary impetus for a Special Session, but the modernization of your PA Practice Act is also important to continued improvement in health care for your citizens and elimination of unnecessary barriers to the care provided by the PAs of your state.

SB347 passed unanimously in both of your legislative branches.

SB347 included important actions to modernize West Virginia’s PA Practice Act to reflect and support today’s health care needs of West Virginia citizens, including, but not limited to:

  • The PA relationship with a “collaborating” rather than “supervising” physician
  • PAs allowed to prescribe a monthly supply of Schedule II and Schedule III drugs under certain circumstances, with specified restrictions (consistent with APRNs as granted under House Bill 4334 in 2016)
  • PAs would be granted global signatory authority in a manner identical to WV APRNs (granted under House Bill 4334 in 2016), for death certificates, orders for life-sustaining treatment, orders for scope of treatment and do-not resuscitate (DNR) orders

The only objections raised to the final version of SB347 were from the NCCPA, an Atlanta-based organization with a vested interest in protecting its own revenues generated from fees for recertification exams, fees for CME endorsements, and fees for CME recording services that it imposes on PAs in states that have retained cumbersome legislation that includes recertification as a requirement in maintenance of licensure.

PAs are masters-level clinicians extensively trained in generalist medicine in formal training programs that are typically 105 credit hours, three times the educational hours of any other masters degree.  ALL PAs must graduate from an Accredited PA Program and take a national certifying exam, administered by the NCCPA, for application for licensure to practice medicine in any state (or D.C.).

However,

  • Only 18 of the United States require re-certification for license renewal;
    33 (with D.C.) do NOT require PAs to re-certify in order to maintain their license; these jurisdictions have no issues with patient safety
  • CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) does not require PAs enrolled as providers to recertify

Like many of these states that do not require recertification as a requirement for maintenance of licensure, West Virginia PAs are already required to complete 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years, which is an assurance that PAs maintain the needed skills to provide safe care of patients.  Most PAs do re-certify, often because it is required by their employer or some 3rd party payers.

The additional administrative burden for the state to monitor maintenance of certification is unnecessary.

Our organization is comprised of many veterans with over a half century of experience caring for our troops and their dependents as PA medical care providers. Governor Justice’s veto of SB347 does a disservice to the citizens of your great state, both to the PAs that would be better able to practice medicine to the extent of their training and education, and to the patients they serve.  We have also asked Governor Justice to reverse his veto.

We urge you to include SB347 in upcoming special session for the purposes of overriding the governor’s veto.

Sincerely,

Dr. Eric Holden, DHSc, PA
Emergency Medicine PA
Doctor of Health Science & Global Health
President, PAs For Tomorrow


cc:  Senator Tom Takubo
       Senator Ron Stollings
       Senator Mike Maroney


Approved by the Board of PAFT


References

http://paeaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Program-Survey-31_V3_Updated-Jan2017.pdf

https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNProducts/Downloads/Medicare-Information-for-APRNs-AAs-PAs-Booklet-ICN-901623.pdf

PAs for Tomorrow is a  professional organization for all PAs of all specialties.  It represents the future interests of all PAs, providing a vocal core group of PAs committed to seeing the PA profession reach its deserved place among America's health care providers and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive and patient-centered health care. 

┬ęPAs for Tomorrow

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