– A requirement that doctors enter into collaborative agreements with no more than five physician assistants would be eliminated under legislation recently approved by the Senate licensing committee.

PAs have lost out on jobs because of the ratio, and the recent passage of independent practice for advance practice nurses has made the situation worse, according to the Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants.

“The physician to PA ratio is an arbitrary barrier of a patient’s access to care and is driving PAs to look for jobs outside of Illinois,” said Jennifer Orozco, a past president of the academy and an assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center.

Bill author Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, said it’s particularly problematic in rural areas and the southern part of the state.

She said she’s had discussions with the Illinois State Medical Society about alternatives that would address the issue, but could still keep the ratio intact in some form. The society is opposed to the bill.

“We are trying to sit down and really work with the doctors to see if we can get an agreement on it,” she said. “But we are not there yet.”

She also said there’s no push to get rid of the collaborative agreement between doctors and physician assistants.

“Everyone thinks that works well,” she said.