Indiana Allows Physician Assistants To Prescribe Medicines

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Prescribing Medicines

The American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Indiana Academy of PAs have announced that Governor Mitch Daniels has signed legislation allowing physicians to delegate prescriptive authority to physician assistants within the state. The new bill will take effect on July 1, making Indiana the 50th state to grant this authority.

"With this new change in the law, thousands of patients in Indiana will have increased access to quality patient care, provided by competent, qualified health care professionals," said AAPA President Mary Ettari, PA-C, M.P.H.

"This has been an incredible journey," said Bret Cornn, PA-C, IAPA co-legislative chair. "Years of hard work and perseverance have paid off as PAs within this state have worked with leaders such as Representative Peggy Welch." "This is a milestone," added IAPA Co-legislative Chair Steve Jacobs. "We've worked through some challenging times to achieve this benchmark. Representative Welch and others see the value of increasing the roles and responsibilities of PAs on the health care team. They understand the impact on access to health care in Indiana."

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"We are delighted to be able to say that PAs in all 50 states now have delegated prescriptive authority," added AAPA Executive Vice President/CEO Steve Crane.

House Bill 1241, authored by Rep. Welch, had overwhelming bi-partisan support in the legislature. The bill also changes the credential awarded by the state from a certificate to a license and authorizes a physician to delegate duties to a PA that are within the supervising physician's scope of practice. According to Rep. Welch, "[This] bill will enable Indiana's physician assistants to broaden their range of health care services and in turn provide a new standard of patient care."

To become a physician assistant, one must demonstrate competency in medical sciences by completing a core curriculum of courses during a 27-month period. PAs are also required to take on-going continuing medical education classes and, in order to maintain national certification, must be re-tested on their medical knowledge every six years.

Physician assistants are licensed health professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physicians. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in rural and urban settings. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and prescribe medications.

AAPA is the only national organization to represent physician assistants in all medical and surgical specialties. Founded in 1968, the Academy works to promote quality, cost-effective health care, and the professional and personal growth of PAs.

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