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News & Press: Legislative & Policy Updates

CARES Act Update

Tuesday, February 18, 2020  
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The CARES act was developed by the Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants (WAPA) with the goal to improve parity with nurse practitioners in the state. The Wisconsin Hospital Association has strongly supported the bill, as it makes it easier for hospitals to employee PAs.

To recap, the bill removes the currently mandated ratios of physicians to PAs, changes the PA-physician relationship to one of “collaboration” rather than “supervision”, and allows PAs to work remotely from their collaborating physician.

Early provisions in the bill created concern among physicians, including a titling change which would allow PAs to call themselves “Associate Physicians”, and the creation of an independent PA licensing board separate from the medical licensing board (NPs are licensed through the Nursing Board). Also controversial was the language surrounding the collaboration agreement between a PA and a physician.

The Wisconsin Medical Society (WMS) has negotiated with WAPA and the bill sponsors to alter some of the bill's language. An updated version of the bill stripped out the title changes, and supports the creation of an associate PA board within the auspice of the Medical Examining Board. The associate board would not be permitted to expand the scope of practice of PAs without the approval of the MEB. The language around the collaboration agreement also was changed to ensure that a physician can provide collaborative care for a patient cared for by a PA within a medically reasonable amount of time. With these changes in place, WMS supported the bill, and it quickly passed both the Assembly and Senate, and awaits signature by Governor Evers.