Our mission is to empower PAs through advocacy and education; providing resources for physician assistants as well as the community in the pursuit of excellence for team-based medicine. 


PA Modernization Act of 2019

What's Changing


The Rhode Island PA Practice Act (RIGL 5-54) was enacted in 1976.  The PA profession had been in existence less than 10 years; PAs were an unknown entity and the provisions of the act reflected this. Since then both the PA profession and the health care system have undergone a dramatic evolution and while the Act has been amended there remains language that does not reflect the current realities of PA/physician team practice and place unnecessary administrative requirements on PAs not imposed on any other similar providers that in no way assure increased protections to the public.

Four Major Areas of Revision


Proposed Change

Supervision and supervising physician

Scope determined by physician delegation

Physician assumes responsibility for PA-provided care

PA is the agent of the physician

Continuing medical education requirement 10 hours annually

PA Board of icensure 2 PA positions

Collaboration and collaborating physician

Scope based on PA’s education and training

PA is responsible for care they provide

Agency deleted.  Addressed by harmonization acts

Continuing medical education requirement 25 hours annually

PA Board of iicensure 3 PA positions

Specific Changes

Supervision to Collaboration

Current Statute

Proposed Change

"Supervision" means overseeing the activities of, and accepting the responsibility for the medical services rendered by the physician assistants. Supervision is continuous, and under the direct control of a licensed physician expert in the field of medicine in which the physician assistants practice. The constant physical presence of the supervising physician or physician designee is not required.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-54-2

  “Collaboration” means the physician assistant shall, as indicated by the patient’s condition, the education, competencies and experience of the physician assistant and the standards of care, consult with and or refer to an appropriate physician or other healthcare professional. The degree of collaboration shall be determined by the practice and includes  decisions made by a physician employer, physician group practice, the credentialing and privileging systems of a licensed hospital, health center or ambulatory care center.  A physician must be accessible at all times for consultation by the physician assistant.


Redefine PA Practice

Current Statute

Proposed Change

 Physician assistants, depending upon their level of professional training and experience, as determined by a supervising physician, may perform health care services consistent with their expertise and that of the supervising physician, who is a licensed physician in solo practice, in group practice, or in health care facilities.

(e) Hospitals and other licensed health care facilities have discretion to grant privileges to a physician assistant and to define the scope of privileges or services which a physician assistant may deliver in a facility. In no event shall those privileges, if granted, exceed the privileges granted to the supervising physician.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-54-8

 § 5-54-8  Permitted health care practices by physician assistants. – (a) Physician assistants. shall practice in collaboration with physicians. A PA may provide any medical or surgical services that are within the PA’s skills, education and training. Whenever any provision of general or public law, or regulation, requires a signature, certificate ion, stamp, verification, affidavit or endorsement by a physician, it shall be deemed to include a signature, certification, stamp, verification, affidavit or endorsement by a physician assistant Physician assistants may perform those duties and responsibilities consistent with the limitations of this section, including prescribing administering, procuring and dispensing of drugs and medical devices, Physician assistants may request, receive, sign for and distribute professional samples of drugs and medical devices to patients only within the limitations of this section. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a physician assistant. may provide medical and surgicalservices when those services are rendered in collaboration with a licensed physician.        

 (b)  Physician assistants may write prescriptions and write medical orders to the extent provided in this paragraph. When employed by or extended medical staff privileges by a licensed hospital or other licensed health care facility a physician assistant may write medical orders for inpatients as delineated by the medical staff bylaws of the facility in accordance with subparagraph (d) of this section, as well as its credentialing process and applicable governing authority. Physician assistants may prescribe legend medications including schedule II, III, IV and V medications under chapter 28 of title 21 of the Rhode Island Uniform Controlled Substances Act, medical therapies, medical devices and medical diagnostics

 (c)When collaborating with a physician licensed under chapter 29 of this title, the service rendered by the physician assistant shall be limited to the foot. The "foot" is defined as the pedal extremity of the human body and its articulations and includes the tendons and muscles of the lower leg only as they are involved in conditions of the foot.

 (d)Hospitals and other licensed health care facilities have discretion to grant privileges to a physician assistant and to define the scope of privileges or services which a physician assistant may deliver in a facility



Responsibility for Care

Current Statute

Proposed Change

“Physician assistant” means a person who is qualified by academic and practical training to provide those certain patient services under the supervision, control, responsibility and direction of a licensed physician.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-54-2

"Physician assistant" or PA means a person who is qualified by academic and practical training to provide medical and surgical in collaboration with physicians.


Removal of Agency

Current Statute

Proposed Change

(a) Physician assistants shall practice with physician supervision and shall be considered the agents of their supervising physicians in the performance of all practice-related activities

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-54-8

(a) Physician assistants (PAs) shall practice in collaboration with physicians.




Rhode Island Academy 
of Physician Assistants

405 Promenade Street, Suite A Providence, RI 02908
401-331-3207 | Contact Us 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software