Dave & Dujanovic: Bill would free up physician’s assistants to play bigger role for patients

Jan 14, 2021, 5:33 PM

physician's assistants...

Photo: Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY — Physician’s assistants have stepped in during the pandemic to help doctors overwhelmed caring for the sick.

As of Thursday, there have been more than 300,000 cases of COVID-19 in Utah, with over 12,000 patients hospitalized.

But will PAs have to step back when the virus has been eradicated?

State Republican Sen. Curt Bramble wants to make sure they have more freedom to practice medicine in a post-pandemic world. The lawmaker joined Dave & Debbie on KSL Newsradio Thursday to discuss his bill that would allow PAs to continue working in a bigger role in patient care.

When President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law March 27 it authorized PAs to receive direct payment under Medicare.

“Right now for a PA to practice they have to have a supervising physician, but we’ve seen during COVID that quite often the PAs are practicing autonomously,” Bramble said. 

The state senator mentioned the case of a PA in a rural part of the state who meets directly with patients after the supervising physician died. The PA is struggling to provide care because of the bureaucratic requirements under the law, he said.

Physician’s assistants oversight remains in place

“We’ve seen through COVID that the data is clear that PAs are practicing competently,” Bramble said. “They are practicing within their skill level. Should this bill pass, there’s still a number of external forces that will have oversight. For example, the insurance companies will have to approve the PAs. They have a PA professional board they’re accountable to. Hospitals will still have to grant privileges. They’ll still have to qualify to be covered for malpractice. So all of those things tend to be checks and balances on the scope of practice that a PA may engage in.”

“Should I be worried about the quality of care because I’m not getting a quote-unquote real doctor?” Dave asked.

“Let’s put this in perspective. The military has allowed PAs to practice or not autonomously for decades,” Bramble said.

The senator said it’s reasonable to conclude that permitting PAs to practice more autonomously will allow greater access to health care for patients at a lower cost because they don’t bill the same as doctors.

Bramble added that several years ago, nurse practitioners were allowed to practice autonomously. 

“If you look at the patient outcomes, if you look at the data, if you look at the patient’s safety and access, it’s been a huge benefit to the health care system,” he said. 


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Dave & Dujanovic

High amounts of spring runoff cause swelling of rivers across the state....

Curt Gresseth

What to do if someone — even you — falls into a river

An expert on water safety and rescue shares advice on what to do if someone -- or even you -- falls into a river, now being driven by ice-cold spring runoff.

8 hours ago

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, sit together du...

Curt Gresseth

Healthy marriages good for Utah taxpayers, says governor’s adviser

An adviser to Utah Gov. Spencer Cox says state government is invested in and promotes the importance of strong, healthy marriages and families.

2 days ago

Life jackets are pictured at the Saratoga Springs Marina at Utah Lake on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022....

Curt Gresseth

Come on in, the water’s fine (but remember to wear a life jacket)

The Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation law enforcement chief shares his knowledge and experience with selecting the right life jacket and using it safely.

6 days ago

High amounts of spring runoff cause swelling of rivers across the state....

Esme Sanchez Estevez

Spring runoff concerns in Salt Lake County

Kade Moncur, Director of Public Works Engineering with Salt Lake County talk through the recent spring runoff concerns with resources to be use this summer.

7 days ago

Yardley Makefield Marine Rescue leaving the Yardley Boat Ramp along N. River Road heading down the ...

Curt Gresseth

Utah experts share life-saving boat safety tips

As spring moves into summer, two Utah experts share their knowledge and experience about boat safety.

9 days ago

Police in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, detain people pulled from a U-Haul truck near the city's Pride cele...

Curt Gresseth

Lawyer rips Idaho prosecutor for not charging 18-year-old man, who allegedly yelled racist and sexual slurs at U. women’s basketball players

KSL's legal analyst criticizes a northern Idaho prosecutor's decision not to charge a young man accused of shouting racist and sexual slurs at black players on the University of Utah women's basketball team while in Coeur d'Alene.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Dave & Dujanovic: Bill would free up physician’s assistants to play bigger role for patients