Congressmember Karen Bass has reintroduced the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act (H.R. 2274) and the Physician Assistant Education Public Health Initiatives Act (H.R. 3890) for the 117th Congress. Following the enactment of previously included provisions and the emergence of new needs for PA education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, these bills have been significantly updated from prior iterations. We urge you to contact your representatives today in support of each bill.
One particularly significant change reflected in H.R. 2274 is estimated to result in thousands of dollars of savings for the typical PA student. This provision would lower out-of-pocket costs for PA students by allowing them, and other graduate-level health professions students, to access subsidized Stafford loans for the first time since 2012. The bill would also work to promote health equity by explicitly allowing existing sources of federal support for minority-serving institutions to be used to support PA programs within those institutions.
H.R. 3890 would address additional needs for PA programs in response to COVID-19. Specifically, the bill would begin addressing the impact of the pandemic on the pre-existing clinical sites shortage by authorizing the first dedicated federal funding stream to support PA clinical rotations in federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and critical access hospitals. The bill also includes a new provision to ensure that all students have the training necessary to provide high-quality virtual care by authorizing funding for PA programs to support the development of telehealth curriculum.
Please contact your elected representatives and urge them to cosponsor H.R. 2274 and H.R. 3890 today. As always, thank you for your leadership and advocacy on behalf of PA education.