On Friday, February 9, 2018 Congress passed an amendment to the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act, which was signed into law by President Trump. This law recognizes Physician Assistants as a distinct and important part of the hospice interdisciplinary team with the ability to provide care to terminally-ill Medicare patients. PAs have already been working in this setting, albeit with significant limitations. This law now allows PAs to practice in and independently bill Medicare for this important service. The implications are far reaching, as this will allow for PAs to address the workforce need and offer an influx of providers previously unable to provide care in this setting.
PAHPM is thankful to the advocates within Congress who supported this legislative change, including Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Tom Carper (D-DE), in addition to the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and countless individuals who work diligently in support of this legislation.
PAHPM remains committed not only to representing PAs in the field of hospice and palliative medicine, but also to the advancement of the specialty with expressed purpose of improving the quality of life for all patients with serious illness. PAHPM is an official 501(c)(6) organization affiliated with the American Academy of Physician Assistants with the expressed mission in the promotion of excellence, education, and legislative actions for PAs in the fields of hospice and palliative care. Leadership is currently working with AAPA to better navigate the reimbursement implications, related challenges, and how PAs might utilize this new provision. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.
Signed, BOD of PAHPM