FAQs by PAs
Having trouble making sense of our practice regulations? New to the Garden State? This is the place to start!
Q. Who do I contact with a question regarding PA practice statutes?
A. NJSSPA is always happy to try to help, but if you need the official definitive word, the Physician Assistant Advisory Committee (PAAC) is responsible for the interpretation of statutes regarding practice. The PAAC may be contacted at: 973-504-6580.
Physician Assistant Advisory Committee
124 Halsey Street, 6th Floor
PO Box 45035
Newark, NJ 07101
Q. How do I apply for a NJ physician assistant license?
A. Contact the Physician Assistant Advisory Committee at 973-504-6580. They will be happy to send you an application packet and a copy of the statutes. License processing time varies but usually takes around 8 weeks.
Q. What is the license application process like?
A. The term "cumbersome" comes to mind. While the PAAC has been working to streamline the process, NJ has one of the largest application packets in the country. Follow the instructions carefully, and do everything in your power to chase down the required letters - an incomplete application may cause major delays. License processing time varies but usually takes around 8 weeks.
CLICK HERE to download a license application
Q. How do I apply for a prescriptive authority for controlled dangerous substances?
A. There are several steps to the application process. You must first contact the New Jersey Drug Control Unit, a division of consumer affairs. Their contact information can be found here: http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/drug/dchome.htm
After you have been approved by the state, you need to make application to the DEA. The DEA application process can be completed online at: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/
After this process is complete, you will need to contact an authorized prescription vendor to have the appropriate prescription blanks printed. A list of authorized vendors may be found on the NJ Drug Control Unit website.
Q. If I do not have a DEA number, can I write an order for a CDS for an inpatient?
A. According to the minutes of the PAAC meeting of September 19, 2008:
"The Committee determined that in a hospital setting there is no requirement to obtain a CDS or DEA number. However, it is protective to have CDS and DEA numbers. A physician assistant may accept a telephone and verbal order must be countersigned by a physician within 24 hours. A physician assistant cannot initiate an order without prior consultation with the physician."
Q. What do I do about a stolen prescription?
A. If you become aware of stolen or forged New Jersey Prescription Blanks, you must notify the State Office of Drug Control (973-504-6558) within 72 hours.
Q. Who may supervise a physician assistant?
A. Any physician possessing an unrestricted, plenary license to practice medicine and surgery in the State of New Jersey may serve as a supervising physician. This includes physicians with the Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) degree.
Q. How many physician assistants may a physician supervise?
A. In private practice, a physician may supervise two full-time equivalent physician assistants. In a hospital-based setting, a physician may supervise four full-time equivalent physician assistants.
Q. How is a supervisory relationship with a physician documented?
A. Each New Jersey PA should submit a copy of a "Verification of Supervision/Employment" form to the Physician Assistant Advisory Committee within 10 days of establishing a new supervisory relationship. If a PA works in multiple clinical jobs, a form should be submitted for each supervising physician. A copy of this form may be downloaded by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.
Q. May a resident physician supervise a physician assistant?
A. Provided that the resident has a plenary license in good standing, a DO or MD resident physician may serve as supervising physician to a physician assistant.
Q. May a dentist or podiatrist supervise a physician assistant?
A. Since holders of DDS, DMD and DPM degrees are not plenary licensed physicians, they may not act as supervising physicians for physician assistants.
Q. Must a physician be physically present to supervise a physician assistant?
A. “Direct supervision” requires that a physician assistant always be able to contact the supervising physician through electronic means. Inpatient settings additionally require at least intermittent presence of the supervising physician.
Q. What are the countersignature requirements for orders written by physician assistants?
A. In an inpatient setting, all orders by a physician assistant are to be signed within 24 hours. In an outpatient setting, orders for the administration or prescription of medications are to be signed within 48 hours. All other orders are to be signed within a week.
Q. May a physician assistant write orders for therapy modalities such as physical or occupational therapy?
A. If the prescription of therapy modalities lies within the supervising physician’s scope of practice, the supervising physician may delegate this prescriptive authority to a physician assistant.
Q. May a physician assistant manage patients who are new to a practice?
A. The statutes do not make a distinction between “new” and “established” patients. A physician assistant may therefore manage new patients provided the above mentioned requirements for direct supervision are met. Individual insurance programs (particularly Medicare and Medicaid) may have differing regulations.
Q. How many times can a physician assistant see a patient without the patient being seen by a physician?
A. The statutes do not set a ratio of visits for patients to been seen by a physician assistant or their supervising physician. The requirements for direct supervision noted above must be met. The physician assistant must remember that the supervising physician is responsible for directing the patient’s care and must be made aware of changes in the patient’s condition or treatment plan. Individual insurance programs (particularly Medicare and Medicaid) may have differing regulations.