Josh Merson, Chair of the Master of Physician Assistant Studies department, recently testified recently in support of bill H.2007 before the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery.

If passed, the bill would allow Physician Assistants to sign paperwork for a person who requests hospitalization due to an acute mental illness or chemical dependence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Mental Health’s temporarily granted qualified PAs the same authority as physicians and nurse practitioners to restrain or commit someone if they were deemed to be a risk to themselves or others, reducing regulatory red tape. The order expired when the COVID-19 state of emergency was lifted.

“As we face an ongoing healthcare workforce shortage and co-occurring behavioral health crisis, this legislation would leverage Physician Assistants to the fullest extent of their training and licensure to best serve patients and the healthcare system,” Merson testified.