Legislative Progress for West Virginia Physician Assistants

originally posted by Nick Vance on November 17, 2012

The West Virginia Association of Physician Assistants (WVAPA) and the American Association of Physician Assistants (AAPA) should be very proud of recent accomplishments in West Virginia for two major pieces of legislation just enacted by the West Virginia Legislature.

With much hard work and cooperation with lawmakers, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's administration and the medical boards, physician assistants have made great strides to provide quality enhanced medical care to patients.

A general description of the two bills is provided below. They include the appointment by the Governor of a PA to the WV Board of Osteopathic Medicine for the very first time, and the expanded annual prescriptive authority of a PA for chronic diseases - as well as the ability to regularly prescribe anticoagulants.  There is no change in prescribing of controlled substances.

Both bills have been signed into law.  HB 4239 is awaiting appointment from the Governor's office of the two new members to the Board of Osteopathic Medicine.  SB 535 is awaiting rules for both the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. The following provides important details for each bill.

HB 4239 Morgan (relating to West Virginia Board of Osteopathy; increasing board membership; increasing the term length; adding certain requirements to qualify to serve on the board)

This bill changes the name of the Board of Osteopathy to the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. More importantly, the bill adds an additional osteopathic physician to the three osteopathic physicians already on the board and adds a new osteopathic physician assistant for the first time to the board. All board member terms are increased from 3 to 5 years. Other provisions are "modernized." This bill was supported by the WV Association of Physician AssistantsWV Academy of Family Physicians and the current Board of Osteopathy.  Completed legislation; Signed into law.  Awaiting appointment by Governor's office the new physician and physician assistant member. Click here for more details.

SB 535 Stollings (expands prescriptive authority for chronic diseases by physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses)

The bill is intended to increase patient access to primary care providers. It permits prescribing medications for treatment of chronic conditions for annual supplies of any medications other than controlled substances by PAs and APRNs. Rules must be promulgated by the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine for licensed PAs under supervision by a physician and by the Board of Registered Nurses for APRNs in a collaborative relationship with a physician. “Chronic Condition” is defined as a condition which last 3 months or more, generally cannot be prevented by vaccines, can be controlled but not cured by medication and does not generally disappear. These conditions include, but are not limited to arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and seizures, and obesity. The treated chronic disease must be noted on the prescription. Also allows regular prescribing of anticoagulants which are currently not allowed for PAs and APRNs. Current prohibitions for Schedule II and limits on Schedule III drugs are maintained. Completed legislation; Enacted after 90 days from passage.  Awaiting rules to be promulgated by the Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Board of Medicine. Click here for more details.

Nicholas Vance MPAS, PA-C, NREMT-P
WVAPA President


West Virginia Association of Physician Assistants

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