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Posted 16 days ago by Jonathan Baird

Members of the UAPA:

Greetings from the Board of Directors!

These are historic times we are living in.  We thank you and acknowledge the role you play in delivering high quality, affordable healthcare here in Utah.  Over the past year and particularly since the beginning of this Pandemic your fellow PAs and board members have met with Utah’s healthcare leaders, including Intermountain Healthcare, University of Utah, Utah Hospital Association, Utah Department of Health, Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing, Utah Nurses Association, Utah Medical Association, the Utah Psychological Association and many others to build consensus on the scope of PA practice in Utah. Each of them conveyed their gratitude and recognize your vital role in healthcare, both today and in the future. These discussions have resulted in two legislative proposals: the introduction of the Independent Psychiatric PA to Utah’s Mental Health Act and the Utah Physician Assistant Practice Modernization Act which will be sponsored by Utah Senator Curtis Bramble.

The Utah PA Practice Modernization Act will:

  • expand patient access to affordable, quality medical care-particularly in rural and underserved areas of Utah
  • allow for efficient redeployment of PAs in emergencies, like the COVID pandemic, to where they are skilled to work without a specific physician relationship
  • allow PAs to practice to the full extent of their education, experience, and training
  • give PA employers flexibility in how PAs are managed
  • promote high-quality team practice PAs practice in collaboration with our physician
  • colleagues and other members of the healthcare team without a specific supervisory relationship and physician liability it requires.
  • allow PAs and their employers to directly bill for healthcare services provided by PAs

The Psychiatric Physician Assistant Inclusion in the Mental Health Practice Act will:

  • recognize PAs as mental healthcare providers in Utah 
  • establish a comprehensive autonomous mental health scope of practice independent of other members of the healthcare team. 
  • increase access to desperately needed skilled mental health services across the state, particularly in rural areas

Senator Bramble will present these bills before the Senate Interim Business and Labor Committee on September 15th.

We invite you to visit the websites of each act for information and updates about the bills. On the websites, you will find resources to help others understand PAs, the issues that affect us, and information on the bill.

We ask for your active support in sharing these resources with your PA and Physician colleagues, your organization administrators, your local representatives and senators, and all who support the PA role in healthcare.

As part of our efforts, we are sponsoring the Utah PA Summit to be held on Wednesday, October 7 from 8-11:00.  This event will take place live from the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City and will be live-streamed to participants.  Registration will soon become available.  We hope you will advocate within your organizations to ensure your leadership at the highest levels will attend to be educated on these efforts and participate in a live question and answer with a panel of experts on PA practice and policy.  We are also pleased that Senator Deidre Henderson, candidate for Lieutenant Governor and running mate of Spencer Cox will be our Keynote Speaker at the Summit.

This is an exciting time to be a PA in Utah.  We thank you for your membership and support of the UAPA.

Respectfully,

Board of Directors

Utah Academy of Physician Assistants