Ohio Physician Assistant Process Streamlined and Burdens Reduced for Employers and Physicians
Among other provisions, the enactment of HB 111 signifies fewer burdens and red tape for employers of physician assistants (PA) and their supervising physicians. Starting September 28, 2018, when the bill becomes effective, supervision agreements will no longer need to be filed with and approved in advance by the State Medical Board of Ohio (Board). The new law provides that supervision agreements need only be kept in the records maintained by the supervising physician who entered into the agreement. Additionally, supervision agreements may be amended at any time without seeking Board approval or making additional filings. Lastly, there is no longer a durational limit for supervision agreements, meaning they do not have to be renewed to remain effective.
Prior to the passage of HB 111, Ohio law consisted of an oftentimes cumbersome process that required filing supervision agreements with the Board and waiting for them to become approved prior to the PA’s commencement of practice for a new employer. This filing and waiting process took time and frequently led to delays in commencement of work, patient access and contributed to scheduling issues. Also, under prior law, supervision agreements had finite terms of two years and required renewal and resubmission of the supervision agreement for Board approval. Further, any amendments had to be filed with the Board, and the amendments did not alter the original agreements’ expiration dates. As a result, these provisions generated large amounts of paperwork and administrative burdens for employers of PAs. The passage of HB 111 should alleviate those issues and streamline utilization of PAs by employers and physicians in Ohio.
Although there is less oversight from the Board, the substantive requirements for supervision agreements remain the same. Furthermore, the potential punishment for noncompliance is more severe. Previously, the Board could impose civil penalties up to $1,000 for noncompliance. Now, the Board may penalize noncompliance with a fine of up to $5,000. Thus, while the newly enacted legislation is less burdensome, the potential punishments should motivate employers and physicians to comply with the substantive requirements of these agreements.
The Board has provided form agreements for convenience, but physicians and their advisors may draft their own agreements that comply with the law. The link to the form agreements may be found here: http://www.med.ohio.gov/Apply/Physician-Assistant-PA.
 The Board reports that it is proactively implementing this law in advance of the effective date.