Strong Showing from PAs During MIPS Comment Period

In a strong display of grassroots activism by the PA education community, advocates wrote 315 comments — almost a quarter of the 1,300 total comments received — during the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) comment period for the 2018 Quality Payment Program (QPP) proposed rule. Each of these comments expressed support for a proposed regulation granting practice improvement credit toward Medicare Part B reimbursement to preceptors of PA students, which represents a significant step toward addressing the clinical training site shortage.

PAEA CEO Timi Agar Barwick hailed the effort by PA education advocates: “The incredible response of the PA education community to CMS’ proposal to help end the clinical training site shortage is a testament to our collective power when we work together to achieve positive outcomes for our students, our programs, and our profession.”

Under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), eligible clinicians who participate in designated clinical practice improvement activities are potentially eligible for a positive adjustment to their Medicare Part B payments. Should CMS accept the recommendation of PAEA and the hundreds of PA education advocates and others who submitted a comment on the proposed rule, clinicians will have a new incentive to serve as preceptors of PA students — and PA programs will have a new tool to secure and sustain potential clinical training sites.

CMS will review all comments before making final decisions and incorporating revisions into the regulation. We expect CMS to release its final rule for the 2018 performance year in late 2017.

If PAEA’s recommendation is included in the final rule, clinicians would be able to claim preceptorship as a high-weighted improvement activity beginning in 2018.

Thank you to the many advocates who submitted a comment to CMS in support of the preceptor provision. Policymakers take notice when large groups of people engage in grassroots activism, and your participation in this campaign has been an invaluable contribution to the mission of PA education. As PA education issues gain prominence on the national health policy agenda, we will continue to engage the PA education community to ensure that the interests of students and programs are advanced.