Preparing for the Implementation of West Virginia's Physician Assistants Practice Act
June 30, 2021
The West Virginia Legislature passed Senate Bill 714 (“SB 714”) on April 9, 2021. The Governor signed the bill on April 21, 2021, and it will become effective on July 8th, 2021. SB 714 amends certain provisions relating to the Physician Assistants Practice Act.1 The key amendments are summarized below:
- The bill dispenses with the practice agreement requirement.2 Now repealed, W. Va. Code § 30-3E-10 formerly imposed an obligation upon a physician and a physician assistant to enter into a practice agreement, which was to include, among other things, a “description of the qualifications of the collaborating physician…and the physician assistant,” a “description of the settings in which the…physician assistant will practice,” a “description of the continuous physician collaboration mechanisms,” and “a description of the medical acts that are to be delegated.”
It should be noted that the requirements found in § 30-3E-9 and § 30-3E-10A remain unaltered. West Virginia Code § 30-3E-9 is a general prohibition on a physician assistant from independently practicing medicine.3 And West Virginia Code § 30-3E-10A requires that a licensed physician assistant meet certain preconditions (unrelated to a practice agreement) before “practic[ing] in collaboration with physicians.”4 To restate, SB 714 does nothing to change these respective provisions.
- Subject to future rulemaking, a physician assistant or an advanced practice registered nurse may prescribe at most a three-day supply of a Schedule II drug listed on the Uniform Controlled Substances Act without a refill.5 Previously, there was no such authorization.6.
- A physician assistant is expressly defined under the West Virginia Code as a provider and cannot “be reimbursed at rates lower than other providers who render similar health services by health insurers as well as health plans operated or paid for by the state.”7
- Finally, “a physician assistant who is currently practicing in collaboration with physicians pursuant to a practice agreement which was authorized by a board prior to June 1, 2021, may continue to practice under that authorization until the practice agreement terminates or until June 1, 2022, whichever is sooner.”8
As a result of SB 714, health care industry stakeholders should consider the following:
- Educating physician assistants and collaborating physicians on their newly imposed obligations;
- Updating internal policies and procedures to reflect SB 714; and
- Monitoring reimbursement rates from health plans (including Medicaid MCOs) to ensure proper adjustments have been made.
Mark your calendars for July 8th, 2021, when the bill goes into effect. Jackson Kelly’s attorneys and staff are dedicated to helping you meet all of your health care compliance needs.
1 A physician assistant is defined as “a person who meets the qualifications set forth in this article and is licensed pursuant to this article to practice medicine under collaboration.” W. Va. Code § 30-3E-1(14).
2 W. Va. Code § 30-3E-10 (repealed) (effective July 8, 2021).
3 W. Va. Code § 30-3E-9(a)-(b). On the other hand, a physician assistant can practice medicine in collaborating with other physicians has filed a practice notification and has a practice agreement authorized by the board before June 1, 2021. W. Va. Code § 30-3E-9(c).
4 See W. Va. Code § 30-3E-10(a)-(c). More specifically, a health care facility must (A) “[f]ile a practice notification with the appropriate licensing board,” (B) “[p]ay the applicable fee” and (C) “[r]eceive written notice from the appropriate licensing board that the practice notification is complete and active” and a physician assistant must (D) “notify the board, in writing within 10 days of the termination of a practice notification.
5 See W. Va. Code § 30-3E-3(a)(7) (effective July 8, 2021).
6 See W. Va. Code §30-3E-3.
7 W. Va. Code § 30-3E-9 (effective July 8, 2021).