SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Legislature passed a bill that will allow physician assistants to work without doctor supervision after a certain number of hours in training.
SB27 as originally written drew ire from members of the Beehive State’s physician community, who contended it would allow P.A.s to practice outside the scope of their education and training.
But bill sponsor Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, is said to have worked with the Utah Medical Association and other stakeholders throughout the legislative session to come to a compromise.
The new version of the bill would require new physician assistant graduates to work with a physician’s supervision for 4,000 hours, and then work another 6,000 with the supervision of either another P.A. with 10,000 hours of experience, or a physician.
“This bill has gone through great negotiation process with the parties, it’s come to a good resolution, and I do think it puts us in a greater place,” said Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, a medical doctor by trade.
The bill was prompted by P.A.s in the state who requested to practice independently due to issues they face with the current system, which requires them to get paid through their supervising physicians. Leaders with the Utah Academy of Physician Assistants said that many P.A.s already practice with little, if any, supervision.
Utah needs more medical practitioners in both rural and urban areas, noted bill co-sponsor Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville.
“They do a terrific job. They’re very skilled,” he said.
The bill passed the House 70-1 on Tuesday. It awaits a signature from Gov. Spencer Cox before it could become law.
A similar bill also sponsored by Bramble that would allow P.A.s to offer mental health therapy independently of a supervising professional awaits a final vote in the House.