Iowa will no longer require experienced physician assistants — known as P-As — to work under the direct supervision of doctor in order to practice medicine. P-As who are newly licensed, though, will have to have an agreement with a supervising doctor for two years before they may practice independently. Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill making those changes into law Wednesday.
Over half of the licensed P-As in Iowa today are working in rural communities. Representative Josh Turek of Council Bluffs says about 40 percent of the P-As who graduate in Iowa, though, leave to practice elsewhere.
The first class of P-As graduated from the University of Iowa in 1974. The P-A program at Des Moines University has been operating for nearly four decades. In the past decade, St. Ambrose University in Davenport and the University of Dubuque started P-A training programs. The P-A program at Northwestern College in Orange City started in 2020.