From Allen Jacobs, DPM, St. Louis, MO,
Missouri Law Creates New 'Assistant Physician' Designation This week, the governor of Missouri signed a bill which potentially could be modified in other states to assist unmatched podiatry school graduates.The bill creates a category known as "assistant physicians." It permits the licensing of medical school graduates without a residency training programs to provide primary care services in under served rural areas of Missouri. The medical school graduate is initially supervised directly by a physician for 30 days, and then may practice independently in rural areas up to 50 miles from the office of the supervising physician.Perhaps various state societies might consider this for podiatry school graduates who fail to match for a residency. They could be given a license to practice under the direction of a podiatric physician following 30 days of direct supervision by the podiatric physician. Following this they would be allowed to practice podiatry, particularly primary care podiatry, in under-served areas of their statesThis would of course be a benefit to the recipients of the care which otherwise might not be available to individuals in the more rural areas of their states, and obviously provide some relief for those who were unmatched in the residency program.This is a model program in existence in Missouri, which might be used as representation as an example in various states. It would clearly take the support of local state podiatry societies and probably require the assistance of the APMA for legislative approval and implementation. However, it is an intriguing concept that I believe the deserves some consideration by state podiatric societies to benefit the citizens of those states and secondarily benefit those who are unmatched in the residency programs thus far.