On August 24, 2018, Senate Bill SB3255 was passed allowing Physicians’ Assistants (PA’s) in the State of Illinois to have training and licensure to be pre-hospital providers; adding PHPA (pre-hospital physicians’ assistant) to the list of emergency personnel licensed to provide EMS Care to the Citizens of Illinois.
The bill, sponsored by Chapin Rose, a Republican State Senator for Illinois, began in February of this year and passed through quickly, without much of the usual discussion and turmoil that slows down other legislations. Those involved, like Eric Johnson, RN BSN EMT-P, and current Fire Chief for Bismarck Community Fire Protection District, and Tony Tracy, EMT-I, EMS Lead Instructor, BSEd, also legislative liaison for IEMTA, felt this bill was a “no brainer”.
“In rural EMS, we need all the resources we can get,” states Tony.
The model for this bill stems from current State of Pennsylvania Code that extends EMS roles and responsibilities to the pre-hospital Physicians’ Assistant. In Pennsylvania, this Code has been in effect since 2014. When Nick Howey, a PA living in Bismarck, joined the Bismarck Fire Department, both he and Eric wanted to be able to use Nick’s expertise to its full advantage. “There are already procedures in place to allow Illinois RN’s to license into EMS, why couldn’t a PA do the same?” asks Eric. “There just wasn’t anything in place for this type of thing yet.” A couple of phone calls and emails was all it took to get movement rolling in the right direction.
Many people and groups had a hand in getting this law noticed and passed. Eric reached out to Dr. Michael Smith, EMS Medical Director at Carle hospital who then reached out to Chapin Rose. Tony Tracy reached out to Illinois Senator Neil Anderson, a Republican, representing Illinois 36th Senate District. Soon a committee was in place, testimonies were given, and within 6 months, the law was passed.
While the Governor has signed off on this bill, scope of practice guidelines, requirements and curriculum for the PAs Bridge will still need to be written. Though it’s too early to speculate what advanced procedures will be allowed, if any, to the PHPA, Eric hopes to see such progressive practices as in-field chest tubes, but he will be happy with paramedic level reciprocation.
The law goes into effect one year from the date of passing: August 24, 2019.
Current licensures in the State of Illinois include: Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) (First Responder), Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate (EMT-I), Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (A-EMT), Paramedic (EMT-P), Emergency Communications Registered Nurse (ECRN), or Pre-Hospital Registered Nurse (PHRN), and Pre-Hospital Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (PHAPRN).
Illinois 99th General Assembly
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