Federal Trade Commission staff has submitted a comment to the Iowa Board of Physician Assistants supporting a regulatory proposal to define physician supervision of a physician assistant (PA), in response to a Board request for public comments.

The comment, submitted by staff of the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning and the Bureaus of Economics and Competition, supports the Board’s initiative to maintain maximum flexibility at the practice level while complying with a legislative mandate to set specific minimum standards or a definition of supervision. Specifically, the proposed rule would continue the current practice of allowing supervising physicians and PAs to determine the appropriate level of supervision and documentation.

The comment states that “Iowa patients would likely benefit if physician assistants (PAs) in Iowa can practice with as few restrictions as possible, consistent with their education, training, skills, and experience. PAs can provide more choice among health care providers, leading to more accessible, affordable, safe, and effective health care.”

“Absent evidence of public health or safety concerns about the care that PAs and their supervising physicians provide under current laws and regulations, we believe the PA Board’s proposed rule would likely preserve competition and maintain and improve access to needed health care services for Iowa patients, particularly in medically underserved areas,” the comment states.

The Commission vote approving the comment was 3-0. It was sent to the Iowa Board of Physician Assistants on December 21, 2016. (FTC File No. V170002; the staff contact is Patricia Schultheiss, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-2877.)

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