Maine Association of Physician Assistants

Maine Constituent Chapter to the American Academy of Physician Assistants


New Law Permits PAs to Provide Hospice Care to Medicare Patients

Congress passed and President Trump signed into law a two-year budget agreement that includes stopgap government funding that runs through March 23 and numerous healthcare provisions, including two improvements to Medicare that represent significant victories for PAs and the patients they serve.

The first improvement will allow PAs to manage and provide hospice care to terminally-ill Medicare patients; another will allow PAs to supervise cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs under the Medicare program.

Specifically, the new law modernizes outdated Medicare law with language specific to PAs in the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act.

“Literally hundreds of PAs have made the case to members of Congress about the necessity to eliminate the unwarranted restrictions which have prevented PAs from providing hospice care to their Medicare patients. Too many PAs have patients that have been under their care for years who have been forced to choose between continued care and hospice”, said L. Gail Curtis, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA, president and chair of the Board of AAPA. “This new law will empower PAs to offer continuity of care at a time when patients and their families are most vulnerable.”

Medicare beneficiaries throughout the nation, especially those living in rural and other medically underserved communities where PAs may be the sole healthcare professional will benefit from this important legislation.

AAPA is thankful to the Congressional champions who supported this legislative change, including Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Tom Carper (D-DE), and Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Mike Thompson (D-CA).

The new law also includes language from the Improving Access to Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Act to allow PAs and other advanced practice providers to supervise cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs under the Medicare program.

The Congressional champions for this legislative change include Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and John Lewis (D-GA).

AAPA is excited these improvements to the Medicare program have been enacted and will continue to push for additional changes to improve PA practice for the more than 123,000 certified PAs and the patients they serve.

 

 



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