Missouri law allows med school grads to practice prior to residency

A bill signed into law in Missouri Thursday allows medical school graduates to practice medicine before starting their residencies, according to a KCUR report.

These clinicians will be called assistant physicians. Assistant physicians will be able to practice primary care and prescribe drugs in rural or underserved areas of Missouri with the oversight of a licensed physician. The overseeing physician must be physically present with the assistant physicians for part of their tenure, according to the report.

A Missouri State Medical Association supported the bill, as it should help attract medical school graduates to the state. However, the law drew ire from the American Medical Association and the Missouri Academy of Physician Assistants.

Though Gov. Jay Nixon signed the bill into law, he did issue a statement about the law needing additional safeguards, according to KCUR.

"Considering that this new category of licensure would make Missouri unique among states and would embark upon uncharted waters in providing health for Missourians, it is imperative that there be comprehensive and rigorous oversight and regulation of such 'assistant physicians,'" he wrote, according to KCUR.

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