Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join WAPA
Scope of Practice

Scope of Practice

The scope of practice of physician assistants currently licensed in the state is defined under Chapter Med 8 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code governing the state’s Medical Examining Board. Scope and Limitations are outlined in Med 8.07. In providing patient services, the entire practice of any physician assistant shall be under the supervision of a licensed physician.  A physician assistant’s practice may not exceed his or her educational training or experience and may not exceed the scope of practice of the supervising physician.  A medical care task assigned by the supervising physician to the physician assistant may not be delegated by the physician assistant to another person.

The most recent legislative updates to PA regulations were implemented in February, 2014.  Among the changes, a licensed Wisconsin physician, MD or DO, may supervise up to four PAs simultaneously.  A PA may be supervised by more than one physician while on duty (8.10(1)), as is common in many settings such as emergency rooms where multiple physicians may be available at any given time.  Also, the physician providing the supervision must be readily identifiable by the PA through procedures commonly employed in the PAs practice (8.07(3)).

As their scope of responsibilities is determined within the practice, it is quite common for a practicing physician assistant to be located in a facility a substantial distance from the supervising physician.

The PA is part of a medical team member who provides a broad range of services. These services may include but are not limited to:

  • patient histories and physical exams;
  • a variety of diagnostic studies to minor surgical procedures;
  • family planning, perinatal, and gynecological care;
  • form a diagnostic impression;
  • assisting with surgery,
  • ER / acute care
  • initiation and management of therapies for acute or chronic health problems;
  • health screenings, preventive care, patient education, and counseling;
  • hospital, and long-term care;
  • referral and follow-up care with physician specialists; and
  • issuing prescription orders for medications

Other highlights to PA scope of practice include the following:

  • A supervising physician shall be available to the PA at all times for consultation either in person or within 15 minutes of contact by telecommunication or other means (8.10(2)).

  • An initial and at least annual review of the PA’s prescriptive practices must be performed, documented in writing, signed by both PA and supervising physician, and made available to the Medical Examining Board upon request (8.07(2)(i)). A sample of this form is included in this guide.

Related Resources:

WI Chapter Med 8 Link

WAPA Resource Library (Member-Only):

WI Chapter Med 8 PDF file