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Minnesota PA Modernization Act

By Clay Walker - Jul 07, 2020

Minnesota PA Modernization Act


In recent news in the world of Physician Assistants, the state of Minnesota just passed a new law for physician assistant practice.  This new law helps to remove some of the barriers of PA practice in the state of Minnesota. 

On May 27th, 2020 the governor of Minnesota signed Senate File 13 into law which included the Physician Assistant Practice Modernization Act after significant work by the Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants.

So, some of the big questions that physician assistants will have is, what does this bill actually achieve, including the ever popular question of, can a physician assistant practice independently?


What does the bill change?

This bill will:

  • Remove the need for a supervisory agreement.
    • PAs in Minnesota will no longer be required to be attached to a single physician in order to practice medicine.
  • Remove the delegation of scope of practice.
    • The scope of practice will now be established upon the individual physician assistant’s education, experience, and training at the practice level.
    • Prescriptive authority will be established in statute and no longer has to be delegated.
  • Remove the location notification
  • Remove the burden on physicians that practice with PAs by eliminating the supervisory liability, which will save healthcare costs.
  • Maintains parity of practice for PAs in the healthcare marketplace by regulating PAs with similar standard to APRNs and removing burdensome paperwork that confuses hiring authorities.


What doesn’t the bill change?

This bill will NOT:

  • Create independent practice for physician assistants.
    • There is an annual review requirement of the practice agreement by a Minnesota licensed physician completed at the practice level
  • Change the way that PAs are licensed or regulated
    • This still occurs through the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice
  • Change any education or certification standards
  • Remove the need for a collaborating physician
    • This requirement may still exist for some insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid as PAs do not have direct reimbursement
      • This is a federal issue that AAPA has been working on for 5+ years!!!



So, as you can see above there are some great changes that are being made in the state of Minnesota for the practicing physician assistant.  However, the ever-common question of can a physician assistant practice independently?  The answer is still no in this instance.


Independent Practice Authority for NP vs PA

There will always be a constant debate on about; “why NPs can practice independently, but PAs can’t.”  And I think this is a poor outlook and opinion.  As the Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants so eloquently put it:


We are not seeking independent practice. Team based care delivery has always been, and continues to be, the foundation of how we want to practice medicine as PAs.  Numerous studies have proven team-based care is optimal for patients, as well as providers, by encouraging high quality accessible, cost effective care that respects all members of the team and creates fluid utilization of all team member’s skills and training. This is why the AAPA created the Optimal Team Practice policy. Optimal Team Practice occurs when PAs, physicians, and other medical professionals work together to provide quality care without burdensome administrative constraints.”


How do the changes help me?

The changes that have been made within the Physician Assistant Modernization Act will allow PAs to be more easily employed, as well as more malleable members of the healthcare field in Minnesota, continuing to improve access to care.

The removal of the “single physician tether” will lead to measurable cost saving and therefore leading to a reduction in the overall cost of healthcare in the state of Minnesota.


Is it different in different states?

All in all, as we can see from this American Medical Associate resource on Physician Assistant Scope of Practice, all states in the United States require some type of supervisory or collaborative role from a fellow physician.

However, with this being said, our state-wide chapters of Physician Assistants are working hard and instituting change in these laws to allow us PAs to be able to practice at a higher level, and moving towards the top of our licenses and education.  We applaud the work of the Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants, and hope to see this trend continue nationwide!



  1. https://www.ama-assn.org/sites/ama-assn.org/files/corp/media-browser/public/arc-public/state-law-physician-assistant-scope-practice.pdf
  2. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/147A.09
  3. https://www.minnesotapa.org/page/LegislativeQA
  4. https://www.minnesotapa.org/news/509884/PA-Modernization-Act-becomes-Law.htm


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