Physician assistants’ petition aims to ease prescription access in Virginia
It isn’t unheard of in Virginia for patients to go days without access to certain prescribed medications if the order was written by a physician assistant.
However, a petition to remove a regulatory requirement that members of the medical industry say is primarily responsible for the delays is being considered by the Virginia Board of Medicine during its next meeting in August.
Submitted by the Virginia Academy of Physician Assistants this May, the petition aims to remove the requirement that a physician’s name must be listed on prescriptions for Schedule II through Schedule V drugs written by a physician assistant in the same patient care team.
Support for the removal also comes from numerous medical professionals, as seen in the nearly 200 public comments submitted on the petition.
Robert Glasgow, the Academy’s Chair of Government Affairs and a practicing physician assistant for over 30 years said the requirement becomes an issue when pharmacists cannot find the name of the physician on a prescription order due to inefficiencies with electronic health record systems.
If this happens, Glasglow said, a patient has to wait to pick up their medication until the pharmacy can confirm the physician’s name – which could span a few hours or multiple days.
“If you have a kidney stone and you are in a good amount of pain, and you’re trying to get your pain medicine filled,” he said, “how long does someone want to sit around trying to pass a kidney stone without any management?”
The requirement is especially unnecessary, Glasgow said, considering that physician assistants have the license and authority to prescribe these controlled substances without a physician’s signature. Virginia law states physician assistants are only unable to prescribe certain controlled substances listed in their individual practice agreements.
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