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 reestablishing access to subsidized Stafford loans for PA students and facilitating funding for PA education programs at historically black, Hispanic, and rural institutions, among other provisions. The Public Health Initiatives Act complements these initiatives by providing grants for PA education research, creating a demonstration program to finance PA clinical training in rural and underserved areas, and providing support for telehealth curriculum development.

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

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
  • Supporting efforts within HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce to link federally qualified health center funding to clinical training opportunities for workforce development purposes
  • 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 students into the quality measurement efforts of public payers including via collaboration with other health professions education organizations
  • 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
  • Seeking the elimination of barriers to programs seeking to arrange VA-based clinical rotations
  • Advocating for increased clinical training opportunities for PA students in private/for-profit health systems
  • Supporting the modernization of Graduate Medical Education funding to facilitate clinical training opportunities for PA and other health professions students
  • Supporting funding for Area Health Education Centers
  • Working with other health profession educators to expand interprofessional training experiences in all settings

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
  • Restoring access to Federal Direct Subsidized loans to PA and other health professions students
  • Protecting the Grad PLUS Loan and Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs in any effort to reauthorize the Higher Education Act
  • Expanding the National Health Service Corps Students to Service program to include PA students
  • Instituting borrowing parity for PA students in accordance with their peers in the health professions under the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program
  • Supporting investments in the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program
  • Encouraging funding for scholarship opportunities for students interested in careers in maternal health from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Fostering wellness and resilience among all students through psychosocial support resources to mitigate the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Ensuring any federal student loan debt cancellation measure does not exclude PA students, faculty, and graduates
  • Expanding efforts to cultivate student leadership through opportunities such as PAEA’s Student Health Policy Fellowship
  • Advocating for increased investments in the Health Careers Opportunity Program to support a strong pipeline of diverse students to the PA profession

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, and increasing the pipeline of diverse applicants, faculty, and students.

Our specific efforts to provide program support will include:

  • Supporting innovative pipeline expansion projects and psychosocial support for disadvantaged students enrolled in PA programs
  • Advocating for increased appropriations for PA Primary Care Training and Enhancement grants
  • Pursuing the authorization of grants to support PA program development at historically black, Hispanic, and rural institutions
  • Ensuring equitable access to interprofessional grant opportunities for PA programs
  • Advocating for investments in curriculum development including on topics such as telehealth and emerging public health issues
  • Supporting continued relief for institutions of higher education to advance COVID-19 recovery efforts

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 to support faculty will include:

  • Securing opportunities for PA faculty to serve on federal advisory committees
  • Promoting leadership development through policy and advocacy training
  • Supporting increased investments in the federal Faculty Loan Repayment Program
  • 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
  • Advocating for resources to support faculty resilience and well-being

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 to support the profession will include:

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

Questions?

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