Science, Health and Technology
5:12 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

New law allows physician assistants more freedom

A physician assistant examines a patient.
Credit US Navy/Wikimedia / Creative Commons

A law that takes effect Aug. 28 will give physicians assistants more freedom to provide care in areas of Missouri with a shortage of doctors.

Currently, physician assistants must be supervised by a doctor located within 30 miles of where they practice. And a doctor must be present 66 percent of the time they are caring for patients.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the new law will allow the supervising doctor to be up to 50 miles away. The doctors also will have to spend only half of a day on site for every 14 days the physician assistant practices.

Supporters of the new law say it allows physician assistants to provide more affordable care for people living in rural areas or in urban areas with understaffed clinics.