SB 27 - Physician Assistant Act Amendments: https://le.utah.gov/~2021/bills/static/SB0027.html
This bill aims to remove the requirement for Physician Assistants (PAs) to be connected to a supervising doctor, giving them access to independent practice, and expands the scope of practice for PAs.
SB 28 - Physician Assistant Mental Health Practice Amendments: https://le.utah.gov/~2021/bills/static/SB0028.html
This bill gives PAs the opportunity to take additional coursework and specialize in psychiatric mental health and allows "Psychiatric PAs" to be added to the mental health practice act, giving them the opportunity to be reimbursed by insurance for mental health services. It also allows Psychiatric PAs to practice independently without being connected to a supervising doctor.
KSL published a news article on these bills you can read here: https://www.ksl.com/article/50089516/inside-utah-fight-to-expand-the-scope-of-physician-assistants-amid-health-care-shortage
UMHCA's concerns: By giving PAs independent practice, the state is removing safeguards of being monitored by doctors and essentially creating a new profession in Utah. If PAs are no longer tied to a doctor they can no longer be considered a "physician's assistant." No other state has authorized independent practice for PAs, so Utah would be the first to pioneer this.
Concerns about Psychiatric PAs include vague language in the bill that does not specify educational or training requirements, it does not address required training in psychotherapy, and it does not contain a prohibition on psychological testing. Additionally, supervision of Psychiatric PAs would be done by Psychiatrists and approved Psychiatric PAs, creating a concern for enough supervisors being available to monitor this new specialty.
Update: During a committee meeting on 1/28/2021, both of these bills were tabled due to ongoing discussion regarding the bills.
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