The objective of this study was to explore the effects of a recent legislative issue (Bill 1232, 1999 session) on PhysicianAssistants (PAs) in Oregon and their participation in providing radiologic services to patients. Bill 1232 allows for reinstatement of a lapsed limited radiologic license for those PAs who have previously completed the required training13. Reported location of practice, availability of radiologic services and radiologic licensure status were evaluated. This information can be used to gain a better practice profile for Oregon PAs, and a more clear understanding of their role in radiologic services.
A survey was sent to all PAs registered with the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners; 290 PAs were identified with Oregon practices. Follow up phone surveys were performed for non-responders. Results were billed as confidential, but not anonymous. Descriptive statistics were utilized in the compilation and extraction of data from the database.
A 61.4 percent (n=178) survey response rate was obtained. Ninety two percent (n-160) of the respondents indicated on-site radiologic services were available, and 4.4 percent (n-7) of those surveyed actively participated in the radiologic services. Fiftenn (8.4 percent) respondents stated they had previously held licensure by the Oregon Board of Radiologic Technology and 3 (2 percent) noted they were currently licensed. Five of the 15 respondents stated the legislative ruling in 1993 by the Assistant Attorney General as the reason for the expiration. Eleven (6.2 percent) of those surveyed stated that Bill 1232 would influence the quality of care provided at their clinical setting.
This study documents previously unknown numbers of those effected by the legislative debate of the utilization of PAs for radiologic services in rural areas. While the number of PAs influenced by this issue is small, the results are significant to those who live in areas of health care need. An end to the debate may allow an increase in PA utilization without fear of malpractice litigation.
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