Letter to the Editor: Defunct physician assistant law would have helped us | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: Defunct physician assistant law would have helped us

Alice Richards

Recently, the Colorado House rejected a bill to modernize physician assistant practice in our state, which would have increased patient access to care.

I want to thank state Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, for her efforts to understand what House Bill 1095 would have accomplished and how it could have benefited Coloradans and the healthcare teams who serve them. By voting in favor of the bill, Rep. McCluskie demonstrated that she is a leader who is committed to embracing commonsense solutions to improve healthcare in our state.

The bill would have removed the legal tether between one physician and one physician assistant. Under current physician assistant practice laws, when a physician leaves and cannot be replaced, the physician assistant loses their job and patients in that practice lose access to care.

The bill would have been especially beneficial for many of the rural areas represented by Rep. McCluskie where limited access to healthcare can be devastating to many people. Removing the outdated restrictions on the physician assistant profession would have had positive impacts on the health of many Coloradans, and I am grateful to have a representative who understands this.

This bill would not have changed how physician assistants practice as part of healthcare teams. It would have required physician assistants to continue to consult with the healthcare team to provide care — as they always have.

We must do all we can to keep physician assistants in our state. Unfortunately, administrative barriers — like this legal tether — discourage physician assistant recruitment and retention.

Colorado physician assistants will continue to seek this important change for our patients, and we invite lawmakers who opposed the bill to learn more about how physician assistant practice as part of healthcare teams.

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