TAPA Legislative Agenda 2019
Mental Health Recognition for PAs – HB 3970 (Sheffield)
• PAs are not currently recognized among the list of non-physician mental health providers. We are the only category of licensed providers who care for patients directly, that are not recognized as mental health providers. PAs have delegated prescriptive authority to treat mental illness in patients across a variety of specialties and family medicine. PAs routinely prescribe medications used to treat conditions like anxiety and depression including controlled substances. The scope of practice as delegated by the supervising physicians to PAs at the practice site to treat mental illness will remain the same. Not having the recognition creates issues with reimbursement to the practice for the mental health care provided by PAs, which in turn prevents physicians and healthcare entities from hiring PAs to provide mental health care. In effect, this works to decrease the number of available qualified providers to serve the mental health needs of Texans. Texas PAs want to continue to be a part of the solution to fix the mental health crisis. TAPA is seeking to add PAs to the list of non-physician mental health providers.
Schedule II – HB 2250 (Lucio III) SB1308 (Buckingham)
• Currently, PAs in Texas can only prescribe Schedule II controlled substances in limited situations. Additionally, these Schedule II prescriptions can only be filled at inpatient pharmacies, thereby severely limiting the number of places that a patient can have these medications filled. Numerous PAs have informed us over the years about the difficulties with not being able to prescribe pain medication for patients in an outpatient setting as well as from an ambulatory care setting. Additionally, PAs have informed us of difficulty with adequately treating hyperactivity disorders in adults and children with medications, as these are also classified under Schedule II. TAPA is seeking to expand schedule II authority to all PAs in all settings.
PA Practice Management – HB 4066 (Beckley)
• Currently in Texas, PAs can become minority owners of a medical practice, whether that be an entity organized as a corporation, a professional partnership, a professional association or a professional LLC with the purpose of providing services that fall within the scope of practice of those practitioners. However, the PA is prevented from becoming an officer or participating in the business management of these partnerships. This, in effect, makes the PA a “silent partner” in a business in which they have a financial stake. TAPA is seeking to allow PAs to be officers and to be able to participate in the management of business entities in which they have a minority ownership stake.
Concussion Protocol/Return to Play – HB 3128 (Price)
• PAs are currently allowed to be a part of the concussion management team for schools, as defined in statute. However, for a student to return to competition, an evaluation must be completed, and a form signed by a physician only. TAPA is seeking to allow PAs to evaluate and sign forms to allow students to return to competition after sustaining a concussion when medically appropriate.
Reading and Interpreting Radiologic studies – HB 2907 (Darby)
• Currently, under the PA Practice Act (Texas Occupations Code 204), a PA’s scope of practice is broadly defined, including ordering diagnostic tests and performing therapeutic procedures. Recently the Texas Medical Board proposed rules that would restrict a physician from delegating to a PA the ability to read and interpret radiologic studies and render a diagnosis based upon those studies. PAs have utilized radiologic studies in the delivery of healthcare for millions of Texas patients for years with no data to suggest any harm. Representative Darby’s bill would ensure that the physician-PA team can continue to deliver the high-quality health care that Texas patients expect without unnecessary legal restrictions put into place.