Growing Responsibilities for Physician’s Assistants

House Bill 5533, addressing the scope of practice restrictions on physician assistants (PA’s), recently became law in Michigan.  Through House Bill 5533, the supervisory relationship between physicians and PA’s is changed by giving PA’s more autonomy in providing care for their patients. The language of previous bills has been reshaped, presumably to combat a shortage of physicians and give PA’s the means through which to reach more people.

This statute could also provide a means through which to grow the profit margins in private practice. Limiting the number of overseeing physicians will allow lower-paid PA’s to provide prescriptions and medical evaluations at a fraction of the overhead costs associated with employing a full staff of physicians. PA’s are now able to prescribe starter-dose drugs without the supervision of a physician. Perhaps most importantly, PA’s have been granted the ability to make house visits without supervision if they act in accordance with “a practice agreement”.

This bill has delegated the power to impose guidelines and restrictions of physician-PA ratios to the Michigan Board of Medicine and its affiliates. Currently, a physician who sees patients on an out-patient basis can supervise the work of up to four PA’s.

Patient health and well-being continues to be at the forefront of these remedial measures, and it is likely that the lower salaries of PA’s could increase the total number of medical professionals available to residents throughout Michigan.

For your convenience, we have provided a link to the entirety of: Enrolled House Bill No. 5533

This article was written by Nezar Habhab, Law Clerk.

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