"Assistant Physicians" Allowed to Treat Patients in Rural Missouri — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
July 18, 2014

"Assistant Physicians" Allowed to Treat Patients in Rural Missouri

By Kelly Young

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

Missouri has passed a law that will enable medical school grads to treat patients in underserved, rural areas without completing a year of residency, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The so-called "assistant physicians" will be supervised in person by a physician for 30 days before being able to treat patients on their own and prescribe most drugs. The law requires the graduates to pass the first two parts of the national licensing exam and get approval from the state's Board of Healing Arts, which grants medical licenses.

Several medical groups opposed the move, but proponents say the measure is needed because one in five Missouri residents doesn't have sufficient access to physicians.

Reader Comments (15)

Jessica Parker Other Healthcare Professional, Internal Medicine, Medicalbillersandcoders.Com

I don't think it the problem everyone should get good opportunity and patients are under proper observation.

T. Howard Medical Student

I don't think it's a bad idea giving the fact that a lot of IMGs are not able to match from the first year. Those doctos have loans that they need to pay for and in my opinion it's better for them to work and get hands on rather than just shadowing doctors without doing the actual work themselves.

Randy Colucci Physician, Internal Medicine

Unbelievable! What the hell is wrong with the medical professionals in this country? Especially the physicians. This sets a precedent that shouldn't be set to help undermine the medical profession. It's the goal of the federal government to dismantle Healthcare in this country and here's yet another way to get it done. The AMA and AOA should have gone ballistic on this and had their attorneys block such an action. This is an ideal place to use the PA or NP. Their organizations should have chimed in as well. Pretty soon, we (physicians) will be consulting the janitorial staff when we need input on tough cases. Wake up people!

THADDEUS NORRIS Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice

Back in the 60's, some states, I think Kentucky may have been one, did not require internship for licensing. What is the reason an MD graduate would not complete at least PGY 1? Michael Crichton chose to write novels, instead, but others?

Anne Walsh, PA-C, MMSc, DFAAPA Other Healthcare Professional, Family Medicine/General Practice, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine

It's interesting that there is ALREADY an entire profession that developed because of, and is dedicated to augmenting, the physician shortage in this country. We have been around since the 1960s and we are called PAs (the REAL Physician Assistants). Unlike this new class of "paraprofessionals," we MUST pass our national board/licensing exam before we are able to treat patients, and it is well-documented that patient outcomes are equal or superior to those patients treated by licensed/residency-trained physicians. The lawmakers of my home state of Missouri should think about checking us out, along with the benefits of utilizing the physician-PA team practice model. In the meantime, I hope that patients don't confuse these so-called "assistant physicians" (who haven't passed their final boards and thus can't get into a residency program!) with us certified, competent, fully-trained PAs.

Syamsa Latief Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, Hasanuddin University, Faculty of Medicine

I think no problem, because they have many experiences and under supervision their physician.

Zachary Kleinbaum Physician, Internal Medicine, Kupat holim HMO Tel Aviv. Israel

Sounds good to a certain extent but they should not lower standards and should be licensed as before
There should be no discounts to professional Licensing

Gary Raffel Physician, Internal Medicine, Solo Practice

This is unfortunate. Why not hire PA's or NP's who are certified by their certifying bodies and have their practice activities co-signed and monitored by trained physicians? Seems like a heinous waste of medical school training and opportunities missed. This was not well thought through, in my opinion.

James Leo Physician, Internal Medicine, Long Beach, CA

And after this, one in five Missouri residents still won't have sufficient access to physicians. How many of us would actively desire to be admitted to a teaching service on August 1st (a month after the brand new interns come on service) if we knew there would be no attending physician present?


Why not experienced Physician Assistants or nurse practitioners? And the term "assistance physician" really?

MICHAEL QUIRK Other Healthcare Professional, Family Medicine/General Practice, key west. florida

There is a professional group already in existence to help rural physicians called Physician Assistance who work as a team member under the direction of a physician let the physician student finish and the get them out

Ralph Whaley MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, retired

Government should get out of the business of licensing physicians and allow the free market to operate in all aspects of human interaction limiting its self to its only proper function the protection of every individual's rights by banning the initiation of force in human affairs.

ahmed rakkad Physician, Internal Medicine, Saudi Arabia. reyadh

I am 20 years experience internist in Gulf states and I hold ECFMG certificate since 1998 . Would be allowed for me to work in rural areas of US

ahmed rakkad Physician, Internal Medicine, Saudi Arabia. reyadh

I am 20 years experience internist in Gulf states and I hold ECFMG certificate since 1998 . Would be allowed for me to work in rural areas of US

Eileen Mullard MSc, BSN, RN, PGCLTHE Other, Oncology, NY and UK

I am not sure why you do not use Nurse Practitioners who already prescribe. They are rigourously trained have great communication skills and experienced.

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