Information Bulletin

PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT SCOPE OF PRACTICE

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Due to the increasing complexity and proliferation of medical services available today, the Physician Assistant Board (Board) has received a number of inquiries regarding physician assistant (PA) scope of practice in the State of California. All PAs, physician supervisors, and interested others may consequently be advised of the following:

A physician assistant may only provide those medical services which:

(1) he or she is competent to perform, as determined by the supervising physician,
(2) are consistent with his/her education, training, and experience, and
(3) are delegated in writing by the supervising physician responsible for the patients cared for by the PA.
 

In accordance with these criteria and other provisions set forth in the PA law and regulations, and not withstanding any other provision of law, a PA may work in any setting, and may provide any medical service with the exception of certain ophthalmological and dental procedures listed in law [Business and Professions Code, Section 3502(c)]. Please note that Section 3502.1 of the Business and Professions Code allows a PA to issue a written drug order based on the supervising physician's prescription order.

Specific examples of some of the medical services performable by a PA are listed in regulation (Title 16 California Code of Regulations Section 1399.541). However, should additional questions arise concerning PA scope of practice, the Physician Assistant Board may be reached at (916) 561-8780 or pacommittee@mbc.ca.gov to address inquiries of this nature.

Note: This document does not purport to be an exhaustive analysis of laws relating to physician assistants. This is not a declaratory opinion of the Physician Assistant Board.