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News: Legislative & Advocacy Updates

President's Message: Emergency Order

Wednesday, April 8, 2020  
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Dear WAPA Member:

Please see the emergency order signed by Governor Evers earlier yesterday. Portions of Med 8 that prevent PAs from responding to this crisis have been partially lifted. While WAPA and our lobbyist group, Hamilton Consulting, worked hard to fully eliminate supervision, traceability, the 4:1 ratio, the 15 minute rule, and self-employment requirement, this order falls short of what we need to respond appropriately. We will continue to strategize to lift burdensome regulations that prevent us from working to our full potential and that limit employment opportunities during the COVID crisis and in the future. I want to thank Eric Elliot, Legislative Committee Chair, Hamilton Consulting, and Jennifer Jarrett, PA Council Chair, for their diligence. We are in a better place today than we were yesterday as a result of their efforts. 

elow is an explanation and comment on what has changed as a result of this order which remains in effect for 60 days and may be renewed at that time by joint resolution of the legislature.

8.05(4):  Licensure/Renewal. At the time of licensure and each biennial registration of licensure thereafter, a physician assistant shall list with the board the name and address of the supervising physician or podiatrist and shall notify the board within 20 days of any change of a supervising physician or podiatrist.

Changed. A PA still must list with the MEB name and address of his or her supervising physician. A PA must notify the board within 40 days of any change in the supervising physician instead of the current 20 days.

8.07(1): Practice. (1) SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS. In providing medical care, the entire practice of any physician assistant shall be under the supervision of one or more licensed physicians, physicians exempt from licensure requirements pursuant to s. 448.03 (2) (b), Stats., or licensed podiatrists. The scope of practice is limited to providing medical care as specified in sub. (2). 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 physician or podiatrist providing supervision. A medical care task assigned by the supervising physician or podia- trist to a physician assistant may not be delegated by the physician assistant to another person.

Partially suspended.  Our scope of practice is now determined by our own education, training and experience, not that of our supervising physician.  However, we are still required to maintain a supervisory relationship with a physician.

The delegation clause has been lifted.  We may delegate a task to another member of the care team. 

8.07(3): Identifying Supervising Physician or Podiatrist. “The physician or podiatrist providing supervision must be readily identifiable by the physician assistant through procedures commonly employed in the physician assistant's practice."

Suspended. Traceability is no longer required.

8.10(1): Physician or podiatrist to physician assistant ratio. (1) No physician or podiatrist may supervise more than 4 on−duty physician assistants at any time unless a written plan to do so has been submitted to and approved by the board. Nothing herein shall limit the number of physician assistants for whom a physician or podiatrist may provide supervision over time. A physician assistant may be supervised by more than one physician or podiatrist while on duty.

Changed.  The ratio has been changed from 1:4 to 1:8. 

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

Intact. We are required to comply with the 15 minute rule. 

Self-employment: 448.21(2) states “No physician assistant may be self-employed.” The Governor cannot suspend a statute.

Many of you have been following the progress of our CARES legislation.  As I mentioned in an earlier updated, we will keep membership apprised of any developments.  I ask that you trust WAPA leadership to move forward in a way that preserves our relationship with stakeholders yet still advances our profession.  I also encourage you to reach out with any questions or suggestions.  WAPA is not a dictatorship and we welcome your input and participation.  The key is to remain a unified voice and to follow a strategic plan.  I would also respectfully ask that those of you who have not donated to the WAPA PAC to do so now.  I realize these times are uncertain and that some of you may actually be out of work. However, even small donations make a difference.  The PAC fund is crucial to fight the fight in Madison.  I and other members of WAPA leadership are very concerned that the same order that only partially lifted portions of our archaic law also gave NPs independence during this crisis.  Please click here to learn more about the PAC and to donate and please urge nonmembers to join WAPA.   It is because of your membership dues that we have we have come this far, and we have much further to go. 

Once again, I would ask that you reach out to me or your regional board members if you have questions or concerns.  We are all in this together and we must stand strong together! 

In good health,

Julie Doyle
WAPA President