Governor Gianforte Signs Bill To Improve Health Care Access

Governor authorizes independent practice of physician assistants

Governor's Office
  • April 18 2023

HELENA, Mont. – Governor Greg Gianforte today signed a bill to authorize the independent practice of physician assistants (PA) in Montana, expanding Montanans’ access to affordable, high quality health care.

“We’re committed to making affordable, high quality health care more accessible to Montanans by increasing choice, eliminating regulations, and promoting competition,” Gov. Gianforte said. “This commonsense bill reduces barriers for providers to serve Montanans, particularly in our rural communities, and expands access to care.”

Sponsored by Representative Jodee Etchart, R-Billings, House Bill 313 permits PAs with 8,000 hours of postgraduate clinical experience to practice independently.

Previously, Montana law required PAs to be supervised by a licensed physician, with a supervision agreement filed with the state Board of Medical Examiners.

With this bill, Montana joins neighboring states of North Dakota and Wyoming in allowing PAs to independently practice.

“With demand for medical professionals high in Montana and across the nation, we’re committed to meaningful, innovative solutions to recruit and retain providers to expand access to care. We’re delivering today, and I thank Representative Etchart for her leadership to get this bill to my desk,” Gov. Gianforte said.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Etchart added, “Montana has a significant health care provider workforce shortage. Allowing Physician Assistants to practice the extent of their education and training without overburdensome and unnecessary state regulation will reduce administrative costs to facilities, potentially lower health care costs overall and most importantly expand care for all Montanans, especially for those in rural Montana.”

The bill passed both chambers with bipartisan support, including the support of the Montana Academy of Physician Assistants.

Improving access to affordable, high quality health care in Montana is a top priority of the Gianforte administration.


Tags: Health Care