House passes Bennett bill to let physician’s assistants evaluate student athletes’ injuries


STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. David A. Bennett expanding the purview – and also the training requirements – for physician’s assistants.

The legislation (2022-H 7299) allows physician’s assistants, as well as certified registered nurse practitioners, to evaluate youth who are removed from athletic play under the School and Youth Concussion Act. It also changes the annual continuing medical education requirements for physician’s assistants from 25 hours to 50 hours.

The legislation is intended to provide greater flexibility to both student athletes and medical staff when it comes to determining whether an athlete should be allowed to return to the field or the court after injuries.

“There are a lot of demands on doctors’ time, and a player shouldn’t have to unnecessarily spend days on the bench because they can’t get an appointment with one. Physician’s assistants — and nurse practitioners — are qualified medical professionals who can make this kind of determination. Providing more significant continuing education will also help ensure that they are up-to-date on the latest information and requirements, and help them meet the medical needs of Rhode Islanders,” said Representative Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston), who is a registered nurse.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Bridget Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett, South Kingstown) is sponsoring companion legislation (2022-S 2607).