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The Coronavirus outbreak has rocked the health care system in every part of Illinois and our medical professionals have risen to the challenge. Doctors, nurses, physician assistants and many other health care professions deserve to be continually honored for saving lives and enduring extreme personal risk to themselves and their families.
In one of the state’s responses to COVID-19, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order on April 6, 2020, stating that physician assistants in Illinois could provide medical care without a collaborative agreement during the state of emergency if they practiced within their scope, education and training.
PAs in Illinois have risen to the challenge during the pandemic and helped save lives across the state by providing amazing care and crossing over into other medical teams and specialties. Senate Bill 145 and House Bill 1826 under consideration in the Spring Session of the General Assembly will essentially codify this executive order and finally modernize Illinois’ laws to reflect the current role of PA professionals.
The Patients First! legislation — which has 10 bipartisan sponsors — is the Patients First! legislative proposal introduced in the General Assembly. “Patients First! will update our laws to reflect the critical roles our 3,000-plus PA professionals in Illinois perform in medical teams,” said Anita See, president of the Illinois Academy of PAs.
The legislation is supported by organizations including the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. The U.S. Veterans Administration hospitals, the State of Minnesota and many other states have already removed bureaucratic barriers to practice for physician assistants.
The legislation is necessary because we are losing our Illinois-educated PAs to neighboring states such as Missouri and Wisconsin because of too many bureaucratic requirements in our state.
The bill does the following:
• Eliminates required bureaucratic notifications and specific “written” agreements. However, PAs will still need to collaborate with physicians to practice and the legislation does not call for independent practice.
• Scope of practice is determined at the practice level by the education, training, and experience of both the collaborating physician and PA.
• Allows PAs to have a seat at the table in front of state regulators and self-govern the profession.
It is definitely time for Illinois law to catch up with other states and recognize the critical role that PAs play in medical care.
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April 8, 2021 at 01:10PM