PAs from across Illinois have an opportunity THIS WEEK to help fix the arbitrary and unfair state ratio requirements.
The Illinois State Medical Society House of Delegates will be meeting Friday, April 20 until Sunday, April 22 and they will be considering a proposal by two county medical societies to eliminate or improve the five-to-one, PA-to-physician ratio.
Please IMMEDIATELY contact physicians that you work with that are ISMS members and have them make a comment in favor of ending the ratio.
Here is the link for them to comment:
Stand with your physician as they fill out the bottom portion and have them pledge support for the upcoming ISMS HOD resolution C328.
Our efforts could strongly affect legislation currently pending in Springfield that would end the ratio. Unless ISMS votes to end the ratio, ISMS staff will not be able to work with IAPA to help improve the ratio.
The time is now!
Here is more background if you need it to convince your ISMS-member physician to fill out the form:
- Under 2017 Illinois law, doctors (MD/DO) can only supervise five PAs and advanced practice nurses per physician. The 10-year extension of our Physician Assistant Practice Act that was signed by the Governor on August 25 2017 (Senate Bill 1583, Public Act 100-0453) improves the ratio somewhat by making it five PAs per doctor, not one doctor for every five PAs and/or APNs. This is effective Jan 1, 2018 but the rules and regs are still being written.
- The restrictive ratio issue has caused a huge problem for PAs across the state of Illinois because many hospitals and health care providers now are refusing to hire PAs and are only hiring APNs. Two hospitals in Springfield – Memorial Medical Center and St. John’s Hospital – refuse to hire PAs anymore but they have more than 15 openings in Central Illinois for APNs. This is a problem that only happened in the last several months but a growing issue that IAPA is seeing happen now all across the state.
- The hospitals cite the ratio issue and the ability of APNs – but not PAs — to work in all clinics, including acute care clinics. The situation creates a massive competitive disadvantage for PAs. Even though PAs must attend rigorous training and earn master’s degrees, our job opportunities in Illinois are shrinking despite a healthcare provider shortage.
- In the Quad Cities area, one of our IAPA board members was ultimately unable to be hired by a physician because of the ratio issue – he was already listed as collaborating with five APNs. The job offer was rescinded and posted specifically for an APN to that the ratio would not prevent a hire.
- Interestingly, there is no data to support the ratio. No specific group or regulatory body has given an evidence-based reason for a five to one ratio. In fact, most states do not have a comparable ratio in place.
- To date, there have not been any disciplinary cases filed against a PA in which ratio was cited as the issue.
- Illinois has six PA programs producing highly qualified providers who are ready to help alleviate the health care shortage. Unfortunately, these new PAs are looking outside the state boundaries where they can be employed without such onerous restrictions.
- For the first time since the inception of the program, SIU Carbondale PA program has notified us that new grads are reporting trouble becoming employed in Illinois. New grads have cited ratio as the issue. Also, SIU reports great difficulty placing students for clinical ratios due to the dwindling employment of PAs.
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