Action Update: PA Educators Keep Up the Pressure on CMS

The PA education community continued to make its voice heard recently when more than 600 advocates submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Advocates were urging the agency to allow preceptors to verify — rather than re-perform — documentation of Evaluation and Management (E/M) services provided by PA and NP students.

In February, CMS updated the Medicare Claims Processing Manual to allow teaching physicians to verify student documentation. It seemed like a victory for PAs, but later clarification offered by CMS indicated that the agency currently believes this change only applies to E/M documentation performed by medical students and verified by teaching physicians.

In August, PAEA’s Government Relations team joined nursing and family medicine colleagues to meet with CMS officials and make our case for relaxed student documentation rules to be extended to PA and NP students and preceptors. Following this productive meeting, we then asked our members to use the CMS Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule as an opportunity to urge the agency to reconsider its interpretation and allow teaching physicians to verify documentation provided by all students, including PAs. We called for the secretary of Health and Human Services to amend the definition of “teaching physician” to include PA and NP preceptors.

“We are thrilled that so many advocates were willing to share their stories with CMS on how this inequitable policy is impacting our preceptors and students on the ground and the need for a swift correction,” said Chief Policy and Research Officer Dave Keahey, MSPH, PA-C.

PAEA anticipates CMS will release its final decision and response to submitted comments later this fall. The Government Relations team thanks the PA education community for its continued participation in our shared advocacy efforts.