New Legislation Would Authorize Direct Pay to PAs Under Medicare

The American Academy of PAs (AAPA), the professional organization representing more than 131,000 PAs (physician assistants) across the country, put out a statement in March 2019, applauding U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Tom Carper (D-DE), for introducing Senate Bill 596, the Physician Assistant Direct Payment Act. This bill would authorize PAs to receive direct payment under Medicare.

Currently, PAs are the only health professionals who are authorized to bill Medicare for their services but are not able to receive direct payment. Medicare permits all health professionals—physicians, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), physical therapists, psychologists, podiatrists, social workers, and others—to receive direct payment under their own name and National Provider Identifier number.

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When PAs cannot be paid directly by Medicare, they are unable to reassign their payments in a manner similar to physicians and APRNs. The inability to be paid directly further hinders PAs from fully participating in the increasing number of innovative value-based payment arrangements and emerging models of healthcare delivery.

“The enactment of this legislation is crucial to improving the accessibility of healthcare for patients across the country, especially in rural and underserved areas. Through the removal of unnecessary administrative burdens and restrictions, this legislation will improve PAs’ ability to use their clinical competence to provide high-quality care to patients in need,” said Jonathan E. Sobel, DMSc, MBA, PA-C, DFAAPA, FAPACVS, president and chair of the AAPA Board of Directors. “We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Barrasso and Senator Carper to improve access to healthcare.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of PAs is expected to increase by 37 percent from 2016 to 2026. Enactment of this legislation will not change how PAs currently practice and it will not change PA scope of practice.

Last month, Representatives Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Adrian Smith (R-NE) introduced the Physician Assistant Direct Payment Act, H.R. 1052, in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The AAPA encourages PAs to contact legislators in support of this important legislation in the U.S. Senate and House. A good place to start is by visiting AAPA’s Advocacy Action Center online.

Source: American Academy of PAs

The benefits of working as a physician assistant

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked physician assistants
as the third best job overall in the United States for 2019, and the best job in health care. The magazine’s annual rankings are based on a number of factors including salary, job market, future growth, work–life balance, and more.

The U.S. News survey reported the median salary for physician assistants was $104,860 in 2017. PAs can work in a variety of health care settings and specialties. In addition to permanent positions with hospitals and physician practices, locum tenens physician assistant jobs are also available for part-time or full-time temporary assignments.

Locum PA jobs offer competitive compensation, paid housing and travel expenses, the flexibility to choose where and when you want to work, and the chance to gain new experiences that can advance your career.

Related:
The Future of Physician Assistant Practice Authority

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