Advocacy

Major Steps for PA Education at the State Level

By Michael DeRosa, PhD, MPH, PA-COctober 11, 2017

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

In addition to the flood of health policy news coming out of Washington this year, the importance of policymaking on the state level in advancing the policy priorities of PA educators should not be underestimated.

Georgia, Maryland, and Colorado are just a few of the states in which legislation impacting PA education has advanced in recent years.

Georgia
In 2014, a bill providing new tax incentives for physicians serving as preceptors for medical students being educated about core primary health care topics was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal. This measure, S.B. 391, was enacted to address a severe projected shortage of clinical sites for medical students in Georgia, while also emphasizing the value of primary care training in promoting optimal health outcomes for Georgians.

This year, representatives in the Georgia House of Representatives proposed a measure to further enhance this benefit. The bill, H.B. 301, includes PAs and nurse practitioners among those providers eligible to receive the tax benefit. The measure also changes the nature of the benefit from a percentage to a dollar-for-dollar tax credit — a technical revision designed to strengthen the incentive for potential preceptors.

H.B. 301 passed the Georgia House of Representatives on February 27, fairly late in Georgia’s legislative session. Because of the House delay, the measure was proposed as an amendment to a Senate bill that was believed to have an easier path to enactment. Unfortunately, the amendment was not permitted by Senate leadership and the measure now must wait until next year for Senate consideration.

Maryland
In the meantime, two other states have passed similar bills designed to provide new financial incentives for preceptors of PA students. Maryland’s initiative, modeled after the Georgia bill, also provided incentives first to physicians, with PA and NP preceptors added later. The law was enacted in May 2016 with implementation of the tax incentives slated for this year.

Colorado
Colorado also passed a preceptor incentive measure in 2016. H.B. 16-1142, signed into law in June 2016, adopted a slightly different approach than the Maryland and Georgia bills. Colorado’s measure provides a tax credit for rural primary care preceptors in order to address provider shortages in rural areas as well as the broader shortage of primary care clinicians in Colorado and nationally. The credit applies to licensed MD, PA, NP, DO, and DDS preceptors.

Now What?
These state-level measures have important implications for PA education and demonstrate an opportunity for collaboration among PA educators. The PAEA Government Relations Steering Committee has begun monitoring state-level legislative activities that have a potential impact on PA education. It is our hope to connect educators in different states working on similar issues to share best practices, pitfalls, and strategies to help move the needle for PA education.

The Committee will present on the topic of state-level legislation at the annual Education Forum later this month. To hear more about what’s happening in other states, please plan to attend.

If you are aware of additional state-level issues impacting PA education, please send a short email to Michael DeRosa, Government Relations Steering Committee chair, at mderosa@samuelmerritt.edu.

 

Henry Heard, MPAS, PA-C, clinical assistant professor at Mercer University and member of PAEA’s Government Relations Steering Committee, co-authored this article.

Pasted image at 2017_10_11 04_34 PM
Michael DeRosa, PhD, MPH, PA-C

Michael DeRosa is the chair of PAEA's Government Relations Steering Committee and the PA program director at Samuel Merritt University.