Action Center

Washington Update - March 2022
March 1, 2022 by Catherine Majewski
  • Star Grassroots Advocates
    • PAEA’s Government Relations team was pleased to meet with students and faculty at the Concordia University – Ann Arbor PA program for a virtual advocacy training session on February 28. During the training, students learned about the Association’s key policy priorities as well as opportunities to advocate on behalf of PA education and the profession. Following this, students shared their thoughts on advocacy and the profession, emerging policy issues for PA students, and the factors that influence practice decisions after graduation. Special thanks to LaTonya Millben, MSPAS, PA-C for helping to coordinate the session!
  • Advancing PAEA’s Advocacy Agenda
    • In response to the release of the PREVENT Pandemics Act, a bipartisan bill focused on strengthening the nation’s public health preparedness following the COVID-19 pandemic, PAEA submitted a letter to Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) on February 4. The letter advocates for the inclusion of additional provisions in the PREVENT Pandemics Act such as a federal loan repayment program for PAs providing infectious disease care in underserved communities, the permanent authorization of PA student participation in mass vaccination campaigns with immunity from liability, and dedicated federal funding for PA students to complete clinical rotations in underserved practice settings. In addition, to reiterate support for qualified health professions students to deliver vaccines during federally declared public health emergencies, PAEA signed onto a letter submitted by the Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions (FASHP).
    • On February 9, PAEA joined over 100 organizations in a coalition letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona encouraging the Biden administration to institute a waiver for federal student loan borrowers with income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. The waiver would provide automatic relief to all federal loan borrowers and count all months of repayment towards the 20 or 25 years of payments required for borrowers to receive forgiveness on their remaining loan balance.
    • On February 10, the Senate HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety held a hearing entitled, “Recruiting, Revitalizing & Diversifying: Examining the Health Care Workforce Shortage.” PAEA submitted a statement for the record detailing policy recommendations to improve diversity and address shortages in the health care workforce by increasing clinical training capacity for PA programs and creating new pathways to PA education for underrepresented minority students.
  • Health Care News in Washington
    • On February 1, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing titled, "Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Responding to the Growing Crisis." Witnesses emphasized the need to address the stigma surrounding mental health, advocated for increased mental health training, and urged Congress to continue funding initiatives through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), which plays a vital role in supporting mental health patients and providers.
    • On February 2, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing titled, "America's Mental Health Crisis." The hearing focused on potential policies, such as health care workforce investments, to address the nation’s mental health crisis.
    • On February 15, the Senate voted 50-46 to confirm Dr. Robert Califf as Food and Drug Administration Commissioner for the Biden administration.
    • On February 17, the Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) extending current government funding through March 11 as congressional appropriators continue to negotiate a final funding agreement for fiscal year (FY) 2022.
    • On February 17, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing titled, “Americans in Need: Responding to the National Mental Health Crisis.” The hearing highlighted the importance of increased investment in the mental health care workforce, particularly through funding provided by the Build Back Better Act.
    • On February 22, the Biden administration announced that the national public health emergency (PHE) declaration will be extended beyond March 1.
  • Opportunities for Action
    • As the Senate continues negotiations over the Build Back Better Act, it is critical that constituents make their voice heard to preserve investments in health workforce diversity in the bill. Please urge your senators to champion these provisions today.
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