2017-2018 PAEA Advocacy Agenda

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Our mission is: To pursue excellence, foster faculty development, advance the body of knowledge that defines quality education and patient-centered care, and promote diversity in all aspects of PA education.

PAEA’s advocacy agenda is congruent with these values and drives our interaction, communication, and partnership with key professional, federal, and local stakeholders whose interests include health professional education, health agencies, and health systems. These activities intersect with the services PAEA provides for our programs, faculty, applicants, students, and other entities interested in improving the health of the nation.

To advance the Association’s advocacy agenda, PAEA’s Government Relations team has worked collaboratively with the office of Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), a PA and former PA educator, to develop and introduce comprehensive legislation. In the 115 th Congress, Congresswoman Bass has introduced H.R. 1603, the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act, and H.R. 1605, the Physician Assistant Education Public Health Initiatives Act.

H.R. 1603 would advance the interests of PA education by increasing student loan limits for PA students, providing grants for PA education programs at historically black, Hispanic, and rural institutions, and allocating funding for technology improvements for PA education programs. H.R. 1605 complements these initiatives by providing grants for PA education research and repaying student loans for PAs who serve in health professional shortage areas/underserved areas or who serve as faculty members for PA education programs, among other provisions.

In addition to specific legislative goals, PAEA’s 2017–2018 advocacy agenda is designed to advance five interconnected key priorities: clinical training support, program support, faculty support, student support, and support of the profession.
 

Clinical Training Support

Ensure that quality clinical training sites that prepare students to enter practice with over 2,000 hours of experience caring for patients in inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and extended care facility settings are available.

Clinical Training Support provisions include:

  • H.R. 1605, Section 2: Improvement Activity Credit for Service as a Clinical Preceptor for Physician Assistant (PA) Training

 
The current shortage of clinical training sites has become severe for all health professions in the face of an evolving and uncertain practice environment and the expansion of training programs. PAEA believes that the creation of new incentives will be crucial in alleviating this crisis and that a dual legislative and regulatory strategy to receive improvement activity credit under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for serving as a clinical preceptor provides the best opportunity for success. To this end, Government Relations staff submitted a request to CMS in 2017 for this proposal to be considered during the 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) rulemaking process.

Our specific efforts will include:

  • Supporting tax and reimbursement incentives for PA preceptors at the state and federal levels
  • Advocating that service as a PA preceptor be designated as an improvement activity under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System through both legislation and rulemaking
  • Supporting funding for Area Health Education Centers
  • Expanding clinical training opportunities in the Veterans Administration health system
  • Working with other health professions educators to expand interprofessional training experiences in all settings

 

Program Support

Receive Title VII funding for PA training that is necessary to develop, maintain, and expand PA education. Additional areas of interest include clinical and didactic training support for interprofessional activities, faculty/leadership development, technology and infrastructure improvements, and increasing the pipeline of diverse applicants, faculty, and students.

Program Support provisions include:

  • H.R. 1603, Section 4: Grants for Physician Assistant Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions
  • H.R. 1603, Section 5: Physician Assistant Post-Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans
  • H.R. 1603, Section 6: Grants to Rural-Serving Institutions of Higher Education for Physician Assistant Education Programs
  • H.R. 1603: Section 7: Improving Physician Assistant Education Programs
  • H.R. 1605, Section 3: Reauthorization of the Primary Care Training and Enhancement Program
  • H.R. 1605, Section 4: Grants for Research on Physician Assistant Education

Our specific efforts will include:

  • Advocating appropriations for Title VII funding of PA Primary Care Training and Enhancement Grants at $12 million per year
  • Defending the current level of federal support at $2.4 million annually

 

Student Support

Broaden access to the PA profession for veterans, diverse and/or disadvantaged applicants and students, and, in particular, students with strong backgrounds in rural and underserved communities.

PAEA will advocate for funding from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce to create pathways for PA students from disadvantaged, rural, and underserved backgrounds. Additionally, we will make the case for increased loan limits so that PA students achieve borrowing parity with their colleagues in the health professions.

Student Support provisions include:

  • H.R. 1603, Section 4: Grants for Physician Assistant Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions
  • H.R. 1603, Section 5: Physician Assistant Post-Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans
  • H.R. 1603, Section 6: Grants to Rural-Serving Institutions of Higher Education for Physician Assistant Education Programs
  • H.R. 1603: Section 7: Improving Physician Assistant Education Programs
  • H.R. 1605, Section 3: Reauthorization of the Primary Care Training and Enhancement Program
  • H.R. 1605, Section 4: Grants for Research on Physician Assistant Education

Our specific efforts will include:

  • Seeking to expand PA scholarship opportunities with the National Health Service Corps (NHSC)
  • Encouraging funding for scholarship opportunities for students from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Increasing annual aggregate unsubsidized student loan limits under the Stafford Loan Program

 

Faculty Support

Develop program directors and PA faculty across the career continuum to educate students for the rapidly changing health needs of our nation within the context of a health system undergoing structural changes.

Faculty Support provisions include:

  • H.R. 1603, Section 3: Making Physician Assistants Eligible for Incentives When Serving as Primary Care Providers or Faculty Members
  • H.R. 1603, Section 7: Improving Physician Assistant Education Programs

PAEA will work to enhance faculty development funding for curriculum creation and enhancement, integration of technology, and improving teaching and research skills.

Our specific efforts will include:

  • Seeking funding for PA faculty to obtain academic credentials such as doctoral degrees in research, public health, policy, or education to enhance PA contributions to education and health system research

 

Support of the Profession

Join with the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) in collaborative advocacy campaigns/initiatives to advance the PA profession and improve patient care.

Support of the Profession provisions include:

  • H.R. 1603, Section 3: Making Physician Assistants Eligible for Incentives When Serving as Primary Care Providers or Faculty Members
  • H.R. 1605, Section 2: Improvement Activity Credit for Service as a Clinical Preceptor for Physician Assistant (PA) Training

Our specific efforts will include:

  • Promoting student loan forgiveness for PAs who serve as primary care providers or PA educators
  • Advocating that practices that serve as clinical training sites be eligible for improvement activity credit under MACRA

 

Contact Director of Government Relations Athena Abdullah at aabdullah@PAEAonline.org for additional information about PAEA’s Government Relations activities or read our briefs on emerging issues.