2019-2020 PAEA Advocacy Agenda

Our mission is: Leadership, innovation, and excellence in 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 that 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 known as the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act and the Physician Assistant Education Public Health Initiatives Act.

The Modernization Act would advance the interests of PA education by instituting borrowing parity for PA students under the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program, providing grants for PA education programs at historically black, Hispanic, and rural institutions, and allocating funding for technology improvements for PA education programs. The Public Health Initiatives Act complements these initiatives by providing grants for PA education research and creating a demonstration program to finance PA clinical training in rural and underserved areas, among other provisions.

In addition to specific legislative goals, PAEA’s 2019–2020 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 are available to prepare students to enter practice with over 2,000 hours of experience caring for patients in inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and extended care facility settings.

The current shortage of clinical training sites has become severe for all health professions in the face of an evolving and uncertain practice environment coupled with the expansion of training programs. PAEA believes that the creation of new incentives will be crucial in alleviating this shortage.

Our specific efforts to provide clinical training support will include:

  • Monitoring and strategically supporting tax and reimbursement incentives for PA preceptors at the state and federal levels
  • Advocating that eligibility for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) improvement activity for precepting PA students be expanded beyond small, rural, and underserved practices to include all practice settings
  • Exploring the feasibility of integrating clinical teaching of PA students into the quality measurement efforts of public payers
  • Advocating with systems and VA facilities, among other stakeholders, for increased access to clinical training sites for PA students
  • Supporting funding for Area Health Education Centers
  • Advocating for the authorization and funding of a Rural and Underserved PA Workforce Demonstration to examine the efficacy of federal clinical training support in influencing the subsequent practice patterns of PA graduates
  • Working with other health profession educators to expand interprofessional training experiences in all settings

Program Support

Achieve the level of 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.

Our specific efforts to provide program support will include:

  • Advocating appropriations for Title VII funding of PA Primary Care Training and Enhancement Grants at $12 million per year
  • Supporting innovative pipeline expansion projects and psychosocial support for disadvantaged students enrolled in PA programs
  • Pursuing the authorization of grants to support PA program development at historically black, Hispanic, and rural institutions
  • Advocating for investments in technology and infrastructure development at PA programs

Student Support

Broaden access to the PA profession for veterans and 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 equitable loan limits so that PA students achieve borrowing parity with their colleagues in the health professions.

Our specific efforts to provide student support will include:

  • Seeking to expand PA scholarship opportunities with the National Health Service Corps
  • Protecting the Grad PLUS Loan and Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs in any effort to reauthorize the Higher Education Act
  • Encouraging funding for scholarship opportunities for students from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Advocating for increased investments in the Health Careers Opportunity Program to support a strong pipeline of diverse students to the PA profession
  • Instituting borrowing parity for PA students in accordance with their peers in the health professions under the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program
  • Expanding efforts to cultivate student leadership through opportunities such as PAEA’s Student Health Policy Fellowship
  • Supporting investments in the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students 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.

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
  • Supporting increased investments in the federal Faculty Loan Repayment program and new investments in technology and infrastructure for PA programs
  • Promoting faculty wellness and leadership development through policy advocacy training

 

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.

Our specific efforts will include:

  • Promoting student loan forgiveness for PAs who serve as primary care providers or PA educators
  • Advocating for funding HRSA’s Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment program authorized by the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act

Contact Director of Government Relations Tyler Smith for additional information about PAEA’s government relations activities.