(Juneau Empire File)

Letter: Proposed state medical board changes will decrease access to care

As a physician assistant (PA) who has practiced in Juneau for 20 years, I want to urge all to be aware of the proposed changes to PA practice by the State Medical Board that are going to jeopardize patient access and drive qualified providers out of the state.

These proposed changes will have a broad impact across Alaska, most notably a decrease in access to care for Alaskans, especially those in rural areas. It creates additional administrative burdens on both the physicians and the PAs that will have no changes on quality of care, but will decrease the time providers have available for patients. These changes will have the possibility of driving PAs out of state at a time when many states are modernizing PA practice and removing barriers to care. Alaska is moving in the wrong direction.

Today Alaska is consistently ranked at the bottom across the United States for healthcare costs, access and outcomes. We are being left behind by other rural states including Arizona, Montana, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming who have passed laws this year to remove barriers to care not add them.

We cannot sit idly by and allow Alaskans to go without access to the care they need. I call on our medical board to reevaluate their approach.

Please consider adding your public testimony Sept. 18 at 8:30 a.m. via Zoom. Registration is required. Information about the proposed change and registration is at https://aws.state.ak.us/OnlinePublicNotices/Notices/View.aspx?id=212369.

Wendy Smith, PA-C

Juneau Urgent and Family Care

More in Letters to the Editor

Most Read