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Washington Update - October 2017
October 1, 2017 by Tyler Smith
  • Star Grassroots Advocates
    • In early September, Michelle DiBaise, DHSc, PA-C, professor at A.T. Still University; Melody Yozzo, MS, MHS, PA-C, associate program director and assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma; and Deborah Opacic, EdD, MMS, PA-C, program director and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, traveled to PAEA headquarters in Washington for the annual Governance and Ethics Board in-person meeting. Prior to the meeting, these advocates visited each of their representatives on Capitol Hill in order to urge support for H.R. 1603, H.R. 1605, and a Government Accountability Office analysis of the clinical training site shortage. Thank you all for your ongoing commitment to advancing PA education!
  • Advancing PAEA’s Advocacy Agenda
    • From September 10–13, 14 PA students from programs across the United States descended upon Washington to learn about advocacy, network with policy professionals, and make the case for PA education to their representatives on Capitol Hill during the 2017 PAEA Student Health Policy Fellowship. The fellows completed 33 successful meetings in which they advocated on behalf of H.R. 1603 and H.R. 1605, the PA education bills introduced in March by former PA, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA). Collectively, the fellows attended meetings with 15 Senate Republicans, 7 Senate Democrats, 6 House Republicans, and 5 House Democrats.
    • On September 7, the Senate committee with jurisdiction over Title VII health workforce programs advanced a bill with funding for the Primary Care Training and Enhancement Program consistent with fiscal year 2017 levels. Following the Trump administration’s recommendation for the elimination of PCTE grants in FY18, this represents a significant victory for both the health workforce community broadly and PA education specifically.
  • Health Care News in Washington
    • On September 6, 7, 12, and 14, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held hearings on stabilizing the individual insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act. Following the failure of Senate Republicans to repeal Obamacare in September and earlier this year, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) have committed to working toward greater insurer participation in individual markets while limiting premium increases.
    • Also in September, Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) of the Senate Finance Committee reached an agreement to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for five years. Ultimate enactment of this deal is somewhat questionable due to competing congressional priorities.
  • Opportunities for Action
    • Recently, the PAEA Government Relations team launched a campaign to tell the Senate to pass H.R. 3262, the GOOD Act, a measure which would provide educational assistance to former members of the armed services seeking to train as PAs and serve at VA facilities. We ask that you take action by contacting your Senators.
    • We also launched an effort to tell Congress to support continued funding for the National Health Service Corps. Please take action to tell your representatives to sustain this crucial program.
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