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Have you seen this? OP ED on SB 152 to amend the PA Practice Act

Posted over 3 years ago


We are excited to share this op-ed with you from ARAPA President, Chris Davis. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of our bill! ARAPA continues to work hard for Arkansas PAs! Follow us on social media to stay up to date.  





Throughout the covid-19 pandemic, we have seen the strength of our nation's health-care system in the commitment and compassion demonstrated every day by front-line health-care providers.

But unfortunately, we have also been faced with the harsh reality that a lack of access to high-quality clinicians still affects millions of people in the United States every day--and never more so than during this pandemic.

In Arkansas, health-care teams are often weighed down by regulatory limitations or restrictions that can hinder patient care. Given the recent surge in covid-19 cases in our state, it is vital that lawmakers pass legislation that will empower medical providers to do all we can for our patients and the ability to practice to the maximum extent of our license.

That is why, as a physician assistant (PA), I am greatly encouraged that our legislators are taking real steps to achieve this goal.

A bill recently introduced by Sen. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, and Rep. Joy Springer, D-Little Rock, would increase PAs' ability to deliver high-quality health care to more than three million Arkansans.

Senate Bill 152 will increase patient access to high-quality health care in Arkansas by reducing regulatory limitations and restrictions while retaining the health-care team with a physician as the lead. This bill would also establish prescribing parity with other advanced practitioners for PAs, and enable PAs to volunteer in case of emergency or disaster.

PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient's main health-care provider. With thousands of hours of medical training and a master's degree education, PAs practice in every medical setting and specialty.

Study after study confirms PAs provide high-quality care. With nearly 500 PAs practicing in Arkansas and more than 140,000 PAs in all states across the United States, now is the time to make changes to our state's outdated laws that limit where and how PAs can provide care.

Physician assistants have been a crucial part of the national covid-19 response. According to a 2020 survey by the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), three in five PAs have tested, diagnosed, or treated covid-19 patients. PAs are trained as medical generalists, meaning their education and training are focused on treating the "whole patient" rather than focusing on one specialty area.

That makes PAs the perfect providers to redeploy to areas where they're needed most, especially during a national health crisis.

In fact, another AAPA survey this year found that in the first 10 weeks of the pandemic, 5.9 percent of PAs changed their specialty and 9.9 percent changed their practice setting. This nearly equals the number of PAs who changed setting or specialty in the entire year of 2019. That means that PAs rapidly moved to areas where they were needed most.

We need permanent change to ensure that PAs can continue delivering high-quality health care throughout the rest of the covid-19 pandemic and beyond, free from unnecessary restrictions.

Access to care is not an issue we can take lightly--especially given our new "normal." It's crucial that we leave no stone unturned; SB152 will ensure PAs are able to step in and meet the growing need--for the good of Arkansas patients.


Christopher Davis, PA-C, is president of Arkansas Academy of Physician Assistants and a practicing physician assistant in Little Rock.



Reino Henderson over 3 years ago

Outstanding, Chris!

Christina Reid over 3 years ago

Excellent job!

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