PA Program Activism Helps Lead to New Legislation in Missouri
The Missouri Senate recently passed SB 801 – a bill that provides tax incentives to compensate primary care physicians and physician assistants in rural or underserved areas of the state to serve as clinical preceptors or professional mentors to medical students and/or physician assistant students. The bill passed with help from Saint Louis University (SLU) Physician Assistant (PA) faculty and students, along with numerous other PA programs throughout the state, advocating for the bill for nearly a decade.
Under the new bill – which was sponsored by Representative Brenda Shields and Senator Dan Hegeman – clinicians in Missouri can claim tax credits up to $3,000 depending on how many students a year they accept. These preceptorships provide one-on-one relationships with clinical students to help them develop their skills, competencies, practical experience working with patients and to better understand the diversity within a patient population.
SLU PA Assistant Professor Carol Suit, MPAS, PA-C, is a part of the Missouri Healthcare Workforce Coalition and is one of the committee members who has been working to try to get the bill passed since its inception. Suit explained why she believed passing this bill was so important to both healthcare professionals and clinical students.
“Tax incentives are a way to recognize preceptors who are not compensated for their time and effort in training new physicians and physician assistants, while also encouraging them to serve as preceptors,” Suit said. “These preceptors are key partners in educating the next generation of physicians and PAs, and also inspiring students to consider careers across our state. Passage of this legislation is a small step towards the SLU PA program's goal of making a positive difference in the health of Missourians.”
In addition to Suit, SLU PA Program Director Genevieve Del Rosario, MHS, PA-C; Associate Professor Caroline Chang, MMS, PA-C; and SLU PA alumni Rachel Vogel and Sarah Mannix; and current SLU PA student Jordan Wells all testified before the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate in favor of the bill. PAs of all levels advocated for this bill, in part, to try to ensure people all across the state could retain access to healthcare.
“With this bill, the hope is to help offset the current primary care workforce shortage in Missouri while growing the PA profession within the state,” Suit said. “Evidence shows that early and consistent primary care preceptor mentorships for students increase the likelihood of students choosing primary care as a career.”
SB 801, after recently being signed into law, will go into effect on January 1, 2023.
Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.