Washington State House Democrats


Riccelli Bill to Expand Health Care Access Signed Into Law

OLYMPIA – Rural communities may soon have more access to health care, thanks to a law signed by the governor. The bill, HB 2041, was another key piece of legislation from Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) to expand access to physician assistants in rural and underserved communities.

HB 2041 allows physician assistants greater autonomy to serve patients using collaboration agreements, which set up a way for experienced physician assistants to collaborate with at least one physician without supervision as required under current law. This bill allows physician assistants to consult, collaborate or refer to the appropriate health care provider based on their own education and experience and the needs of the patient. That difference means more opportunities for physician assistants to provide care and less administrative burden on the physician and hospitals so they can also focus on their patients.

“Our rural and underserved communities have seen their physician assistants leave due to a lack of physicians willing to be supervisors. During the pandemic, we used collaboration agreements to strengthen our workforce and it only makes sense to keep that going now when so many of our communities are struggling,” said Riccelli. “I’m grateful to my colleagues for seeing the value in this bill and helping ensure that Spokane and our neighboring communities will have greater access to our physician assistants and their doctors.”

“This bill recognizes the increasing education and contributions of PAs and allows them to more easily provide high quality health care to Washingtonians. The bill also removes other barriers to PA employment so that Washington is attracting and retaining a skilled healthcare workforce,” said Washington Academy of Physician Assistants Board President Linda Dale.

Now signed by the governor, the law takes effect on January 1, 2025 in part, and on July 1 2026 in part.