The Iowa House this week gave final legislative approval to a bill that would let physician’s assistants prescribe more medications. Representative Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Garner, says the bill would let P-As write prescriptions for stimulants which include drugs like Ritalin, the most commonly-prescribed treatment for hyperactivity/attention deficit disorder in kids.
Upmeyer says it will benefit Iowans, primarily people in rural parts of the state and in inner cities where access to health care is difficult because few doctors practice there. “P.A.s provide wonderful service in those areas,” Upmeyer says. Representative Dolores Mertz, a Democrat from Ottosen, urged her colleagues to vote to give P.A.s this additional prescription authority. “This is especially essential and very valuable to people in rural Iowa,” Mertz says. Representative Bruce Hunter, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the bill isn’t that much of an extension of what P.A.s have been doing already.
P.A.s have been able to write prescriptions for most other drugs, and Hunter says they’ve done so for 15 years “without any discernible problems.” Representative Paul Wilderdyke, a Republican from Woodbine, says he serves on a hospital board, and has learned the value of physicians assistants. “The P.A. has been the answer for our rural, rural Iowa,” Wilderdyke says. “It gives inexpensive medical care to our elderly and poor people in these rural areas.” The bill passed the House this past week and must clear the Senate, too, before it goes to the governor for his approval.