It's About Time
As most people in the PA world in Pennsylvania know, the regulations for PAs under the Osteopathic Board of Medicine and PAs under the Allopathic Board of Medicine have been different for some time when it comes to prescriptive privileges. However, this summer, the IRRC (Independent Regulatory Review Commission) approved the bill (effective since early August), stating that physician assistants working with DOs in osteopathic medicine FINALLY have the authority to write prescriptions.
Although allopathic physician assistants working with MDs have had this ability since 1993, this is a big step out into the light for the profession as a whole. The fact that PAs working with MDs were granted this ability long ago has, in many ways, set them at an advantage over those in osteopathic medicine, but not anymore. Not only does this bill provide equal opportunity to care for patients as osteopathic PAs with the same educational background as ones who work with MDs, but it resolves the confusion many people have about whether or not PAs can write prescriptions here in Pennsylvania.
It also sets PAs on the same level in terms of which doctors want to hire them. For example, a doctor may see hiring a PA who can write prescriptions as more efficient and less time consuming. Thankfully, this ability will now allow all physician assistants across the board to provide more equal and efficient patient care in our state.
As a student at an osteopathic school, this was big news for my professors and fellow classmates, as I'm sure you can imagine. We've already discussed in class how equality among physician assistants is a long time coming in our country, as we all know that passing a bill can be painstakingly slow, and that each state has its own regulations on what a PA can and cannot do.
The general consensus among my superiors was that this was something that should have happened a long time ago, but nonetheless it's a settling relief to know that it's finally in order. The authority of some physician assistants in certain states still differs, but at least now one more state is on the way to bringing everyone to the same level of care. After all, we are all here for the patient. Now, equal responsibilities among the PAs caring for them is one less thing patients have to worry about in searching for a good provider.