Physicans Assistants rally to eliminate barrier; Stumbo says bill should pass

02/05/2013 12:29 PM

FRANKFORT — Doctors and more than 150 physician assistant students made their loudest case yet in Frankfort on Tuesday for a measure they say can ease a physician shortage in Kentucky just by dropping one requirement in the law.

The group of physician assistant students — joined by some doctors — urged lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 43 , which would eliminate a requirement that new physician assistant spend the first 18-months on the job being supervised by a doctor. Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, sponsored the legislation, but he did not attend the rally in the Capitol Rotunda.

Kentucky is the only state to require master-level graduates to wait to be on their own to see patients with common ailments. In other states, a group spokesman said a supervising physician determines when the physician assistant is competent to practice with consultation from the physician.

Kentucky Academy of Physician Assistants President Tali Hunt said in Kentucky, 55 of the 120 counties are under-served because of the 18-month rule. Watch the video below for more of Hunt’s comments at the rally:

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who represents Floyd County in rural Eastern Kentucky, told Pure Politics he supports the measure and expects it to pass in 2013. Here’s what he said.

Christen Gibson, a physician assistant student representing her peers at the University of Kentucky and the University of the Cumberlands, said her classmates are very anxious about finding jobs after school especially if they want to stay in Kentucky.

“Fifty percent of the students (at the rally) will most likely leave the state of Kentucky and seek employment in another region,” Gibson said. “Most are leaving due to the 18-month rule, because it makes it difficult for us to find jobs.”

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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