Hawaii Academy of Physician Assistants

Hawaii PA Practice Laws - GREAT NEWS!!! (finally)

Posted 7 months ago by Christina Starks

Aloha Friends,

The Hawaii Academy of PAs would like to notify its members and PA supporters that Hawaii legislators have agreed to introduce a bill that could update Physician Assistant practice to be at par with national standards. 

Hawaii Revised Statues Chapter 453 Medicine & Surgery governs PA practice and has not been modernized for current day standards.   If passed, updates to Chapter 453 would expand the PA role, improve restrictive language, and allow practice level specificity when defining interprofessional healthcare team practice.  Ergo, expanding PA practice and PA utilization in Hawaii

This language is being introduced to the Hawaii Legislation by Representative John Mizuno and Senator Dru Kanuka (Sen. Baker was maxed on bills and wanted more time to review), they are chairs of their respective health committees.  This is a huge plus.  As of Friday, their offices have sent the language to be drafted and assigned a bill number.   HAPA will be following this closely and will need your testimony and support as the bill goes through the legislative process.



There is a lot of excitement coming out of Kona as they look towards a getting local PA program.   This is understandable as the Big Island has the largest percentage of physician shortage by county.   A group of community volunteers have organized and sure enough have been chomping at the bit to prepare the landscape for PAs such that they drafted language to be sponsored by Big Island representatives.  They researched American Academy of PAs as well as 9 different state PA laws.

After finding out their local Representatives were already maxed on bills, they reached out to HAPA.  In a way we are glad because HAPA is committed to our process to work with the Hawaii Medical Board and legislative health committee chairs.  HAPA shared the language with each respective party as they play the strongest role in healthcare bills.  Senator Baker is Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health.  Representative Mizuno is Chair of the House Committee on Health.   The PA Advisor to the Hawaii Medical Board, Vince Tenorio, is in communication with HAPA as the Board takes time to digest the language.


Other PA bills:

There is currently a bill regarding PA re-licensure going through the legislative process.  We fondly call this the “Sammy Bill” as it was initially speared headed by PA Sam DiMartino.  It revises Hawaii PA re-licensure to require CME and not the PANRE (re-certification exam).  Recertification is required for continued PA licensure or prescribing privileges in 19 states.  Currently, PAs are the only health professionals who risk losing their license because of their performance on a recertification test.  

Also, Vince, has advised us that there is another PA bill in legislation.  At this time we are not sure what it pertains to.  One thought is possibly a Work Comp law but we are just not sure at this time and will have to do some investigation. 

PAs coming together:

This reiterates how important it is for Hawaii PAs to unite especially when it pertains to our professional practice.  While it is true that any citizen can go to their law makers and ask for a bill, HAPA will continue to strive for a cohesive team by not only collaborating with physicians, the Board, legislators, but most of all one another. 

HAPA will be asking all PAs of Hawaii to support and submit testimony.  Now is the time to get involved and help as we have a long road ahead of us.  Please stay tuned.


Our Battle Cry:

PAs are highly skilled providers and an effective and efficient option to increase access to healthcare and help alleviate the 797 physician workforce shortage in Hawaii.  Yet, restrictive state regulations are burdensome and hinder physician and medical facilities from utilizing PAs based on the needs of the specialty, facility, and patient population.  PAs provide cost-effective care, generating sizable revenue relative to their salaries and benefits and can free up the physician or specialist for complicated cases and expand access for neighbor island.

State restriction has led to physician/facility deterrence as it pertains to utilizing PAs.  In Hawaii, PAs struggle to find jobs or practice to their full extent.  Updating HRS 453 would allow physicians and facilities to employ PAs without added burden and provide greater care for the residents of Hawaii.


Once again, we will need testimony and support from fellow PAs and PA supporters.  We will provide more information as we receive it.


On behalf of your HAPA officers; Rocco, Joel, Matt, and myself – Mahalo nui loa.


Kindest regards,

Christina Starks, MPA, PA-C

Hawaii Academy of PAs - President