Update licensing for physician assistants

Every year, Illinois’ nine physician assistant (PA) programs prepare new PAs to take on the access-to-care crisis we face in our state. Unfortunately, many new PA graduates are leaving our state due to a significant barrier standing in their way: administrative red tape.

According to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, more than 3 million Illinois residents live in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area, lacking access to basic care.

A recent survey by The Harris Poll found that Illinois patients wait an average of 4.3 weeks for a medical appointment, above the national average of 3.9 weeks. That is too long to wait for medical care.

As an Illinois PA for over 14 years and an Illinois resident, I am deeply concerned about many of the findings of this report. The survey found that two-thirds of Illinois patients worry about how healthcare workforce shortages will impact them.

With modernized laws, PAs could do more to help address the critical healthcare challenges our state faces. Eighty-nine percent of adults surveyed in Illinois say they support updating PA laws to allow states and healthcare systems to utilize their healthcare workforce fully.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, PAs are more likely to serve these vulnerable populations than other clinicians. With an improved and updated PA licensing process, our state would be better positioned to support patients in urban and rural areas struggling to access the care they need.

Illinois patients had a lot to say about their healthcare needs. Let’s listen to them.

Timothy J. Kinsey, President

Illinois Academy of Pas

Highland Park

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