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UMKC Starts Physician Assistant Degree Program

The UMKC School of Medicine will start accepting applications for a new physician assistant master's degree program. This follows the governor recently signing a bill that would allow physician assistants to operate more independently.

Under the law signed by Gov. Jay Nixon last month, physician assistants in Missouri will only need to be supervised by a physician four hours for every 14 days on the job. Previously, they needed to be supervised two thirds of their time.

Supporters say the law was needed to make it easier for physician assistants to work in urban and rural areas that are underserved by medical professionals. Katie Ervie is program director for UMKC physician assistant program. She hopes the new law will encourage more PAs to work in the state.

“The concern was that PAs were not staying in the state of Missouri to provide health care,” says Evrie. “So we’re hoping because of the passage of this bill, that that will encourage PAs to stay in the state of Missouri and meet the health care needs of Missouri.”

UMKC’s new physician assistant program, which will begin classes in January of 2014, will be the fourth in the state.  The program will prepare students for what the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will be the second fastest growing profession in the next decade

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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