CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Senator Tom Takubo says he would have liked to have spoken with Gov. Jim Justice before he decided to veto a bill impacting Physician Assistants.
“I wish the governor would have reached out, especially me being lead sponsor, being not only chair of Senate Health (Committee), but being a physician that employs PAs, works with PAs and trains PAs, but I got no such call. I heard about the veto through the grapevine,” Takubo (R-Kanawha) said Friday.
The bill (SB 347), vetoed by Justice Wednesday, was a one-issue bill, according to Takubo.
“Physician Assistants are currently the only medical provider that I’m aware of that once you become initially board certified they still require you to go back every 10 years and repeat your board examines to maintain board certified,” Takubo said.
The bill would have changed the law to make the recertification optional. Some want to recertify but according to Takubo, many PAs are in specialized fields and no longer use some of the areas the recertification covers.
“Many of the PAs felt ‘Why are we still required to go back and retest because we don’t practice that kind of medicine?’ That’s very fair because none of the rest of us do that,” Takubo said.
In his veto message, Gov. Justice said the lack of recertification could weaken the profession.
“The unfortunate effect of this bill is that it weakens existing professional safeguards governing the medical knowledge and skills of physician assistants that have been serving the public interest for years,” Justice said. “Even as it grants greater autonomy to physician assistants.”
Takubo said money could be at the root of the veto. He said opposition came from the organization that administers the recertification tests.
“It basically came down that the testing organization was going to lose about $650,000 a year,” Takubo said.