February 28, 2019
Bill will allow Medicare to reimburse physician assistants (PAs) directly for the care they provide
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced the Physician Assistant Direct Payment Act, bipartisan legislation that will allow Medicare to reimburse physician assistants (PAs) directly for the care they provide.
“As a doctor, I’ve worked alongside physician assistants (PAs) caring for Wyoming families,” said Barrasso. “These skilled and dedicated professionals are a vital part of Wyoming’s health care community. It is time for Medicare to modernize its reimbursement structure so seniors across America can fully benefit from the outstanding care PAs provide.”
“Every day, physician assistants provide high-quality care for patients and their families in Delaware and across the country,” said Carper. “Unfortunately, these health care professionals cannot receive their hard-earned payment directly from Medicare because of the current reimbursement system. This bill would ensure that these men and women receive payment directly for the critical care they provide to our communities. It is the right thing to do, and it’s an example of how Democrats and Republicans can work together to make common sense improvements that benefit providers and patients.”
PAs are currently the only health care professionals that are authorized to bill Medicare but are unable to receive direct payment from the program. Instead, they are required to receive reimbursement through their employer, such as a medical group. This creates an additional administrative burden on PAs, and restricts their ability to serve patients as efficiently as possible.
The Physician Assistant Direct Payment Act will put PAs in a better position to participate in new and innovative practice arrangements. It will also level the playing field between PAs and other health care providers participating in Medicare.
PAs are already an important part of the provider community in rural America. Over 30% of PAs in rural communities are practicing primary care.
Representatives Terri Sewell (D-AL-07) and Adrian Smith (R-NE-03) introduced the bipartisan companion bill in the House of Representatives earlier this month.