PA Alumni, Faculty Help Advance Healthcare Access in Delaware

By Purnell T. Cropper | September 18, 2012

On Aug. 2, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell approved a law that increased access to quality healthcare by removing several outdated and unnecessary barriers that prevented PAs from practicing to their fullest extent.

The milestone was reached thanks to the efforts of alumni and faculty of the Arcadia University Physician Assistant ProgramGregg Morris ’03MEileen DeAngelis ’10MTravis Fogelman ’10M, and Joe Zaweski, Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator—who volunteered as board members of the Delaware Academy of Physician Assistants.

The law has many positive implications for the practice of PAs in Delaware. It will increase access to quality healthcare, promoting better public health. It will open up many more job opportunities for Arcadia graduates, encouraging them to stay and practice locally in the region, which could have a positive influence on the number of clinical sites available to our current second year PA students.

House Bill 349 includes the following improvements:

  • Supervising physicians will no longer be required to sign PA charts.
  • The maximum physician to PA ratio will increase from 1:2 to 1:4.
  • The requirement that a supervising physician be able to be physically present within 30 minutes has been eliminated; however, physicians who delegate responsibilities to a PA must be available either in person or by some form of electronic communication if needed for consultation during the time of the patient encounter.
  • Each physician-PA team must have a written delegation agreement in place at the location where the PA practices.

DAPA’s volunteer leadership and lobbyists worked with American Academy of Physician Assistants staff in the last year to make these changes happened. Volunteers led by both groups conducted stakeholder meetings to build consensus to improve the PA practice act, met with legislators and presented at the Medical Board and PA Advisory Council to increase patient access to quality health care.