Physician assistants across Illinois will have expanded job opportunities and health care access for all residents will improve with Governor Rauner signing Senate Bill 2904. The legislation significantly improves the arbitrary state law that limits the number of physician assistants that can collaborate with a physician.
Senate Bill 2904, which passed both houses of the General Assembly without opposition, will be officially implemented on January 1, 2019 The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will begin to establish rules for the new law over the next several months.
Currently, only five physician assistants in Illinois can collaborate with one physician. The new law expands that number to seven PAs that can collaborate with a single doctor. Just as importantly, the new law says that PAs practicing in half of Illinois’ counties are completely exempt from the ratio because those counties are designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas.
Before passage of this law, many rural and underserved health facilities were not hiring PAs because of the risk of violating the 5-to-1 ratio. For the first time ever, Southern Illinois University PA graduates were having trouble finding positions in Illinois.
The Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants would like to thank the bipartisan group of sponsors of the legislation, including chief sponsors Senator Heather Steans, D-Chicago, and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, the Assistant House Majority Leader. IAPA would also like to thank Southern Illinois University and the Illinois Primary Health Care Association for those groups strongly supporting the new law.
This is the second straight year that IAPA has passed major legislation to help PAs across the state. In 2017, the academy led the charge for a 10-year extension of the PA Practice Act that modernized state laws regulating physician assistants.
Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants