Senate approves Muzzall health-care workforce legislation

Washington state is facing critical workforce shortages across various industries, and the lack of employees is being acutely felt in hospitals, clinics and medical practices.

State Sen. Ron Muzzall, R-Oak Harbor, has been working to fill these gaps by sponsoring legislation that aims to ease regulatory burdens for licensed practitioners from other states.

Senate Bill 5815, which was approved unanimously by the Senate today, would enact a physician assistant (PA) licensure compact. This would allow licensed PAs from other states in the compact to practice medicine in Washington.

“We need all the providers we can get,” said Muzzall. “Joining this compact will bring high-quality health-care professionals into our workforce at a critical time. I’m hopeful the House will act quickly on this proposal to expand access for patients across our state.”

Under Muzzall’s proposal, physician assistants would be required to adhere to all current state standards in addition to meeting other administrative requirements, such as not having any felony or misdemeanor convictions.

The compact concept is an industry-led initiative that began in 2019. As of this year, three states already have approved compact legislation and bills have been filed in seven states, including Washington.

The proposal now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.