Colorado legislators want to nix supervision for physician assistants

Colorado legislators are trying for a third time to pass a bill that would give physician assistants the ability to practice without physician supervision after meeting certain requirements, ABC affiliate KMGH reported Jan. 30.

Currently, physician assistants can prescribe medications and diagnose and manage conditions only under physician supervision. 

"This bill requires 3,000 hours of supervised training. And if they're changing what their practice is, if they're learning an additional skill, it's an additional 3,000 hours," state Sen. Faith Winter, one of the sponsors of the bill, told KMGH. "This is about allowing physicians assistants to provide care they've been trained to do through collaborative agreements that make sense in our current healthcare setting."

If the bill passes, Colorado will join 17 states that require collaborative agreements instead of physician supervision. However, many oppose the removal of physician oversight.

"Teams led by board-certified emergency physicians are preferred by patients because they consistently deliver higher-quality, less-costly care. Physician assistants are an integral part of physician-led teams, and we support simplifying the administrative requirements for oversight of PAs by physicians in Colorado," the Colorado American College of Emergency Physicians said in a statement to KMGH.

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