Action Center

Washington Update - December 2017
December 1, 2017 by Tyler Smith
  • Star Grassroots Advocates
    • PAEA’s Government Relations team would like to thank Alan Gindoff, DHSc, PA-C, the PA program director at East Carolina University, along with his faculty for meeting with Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC-03) in November. During the meeting, Dr. Gindoff discussed the policy challenges his program faces and urged Congressman Jones to introduce a “zero-cost” bill, incorporating the no-cost provisions of the Physician Assistant Higher Education Modernization Act (H.R. 1603) and the Physician Assistant Education Public Health Initiatives Act (H.R. 1605). Thanks for your leadership and service to PA education, Dr. Gindoff!
  • Advancing PAEA’s Advocacy Agenda
    • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published its final rule for the 2018 performance year of the Quality Payment Program. After a sustained grassroots campaign by PA education advocates, CMS finalized a new improvement activity under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) beginning in 2018, creating a new incentive for certain MIPS-eligible clinicians to serve as preceptors for PA students. PAEA will be submitting comments to CMS by January 1 commending the finalization of this provision and urging CMS to expand eligibility for the provision to all practice sites, rather than limiting eligibility to community practices in small, rural, or underserved areas.
    • PAEA signed on to a letter led by the Trust for America’s Health advocating that Congress take action to extend funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and other safety net programs without cutting the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) as an offset. PA education has previously benefited from the PPHF, which funded the Expansion of Physician Assistant Training grant program in 2010.
  • Health Care News in Washington
    • In mid-November, the House of Representatives voted to advance legislation designed to overhaul the nation’s tax code. As the Senate works on its version of tax reform, several issues related to health care have been proposed as potential components of the final package, including repeal of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act and repeal of the medical expenses tax deduction, among other provisions. The Congressional Budget Office released an analysis projecting that the legislation would increase the national deficit by nearly $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.
    • Following the resignation of former Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price, President Trump nominated Alex Azar to lead HHS in November. Azar formerly served as Deputy Secretary of HHS under President George W. Bush and as an executive of pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing on Azar’s nomination on November 29, and the Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote to confirm Azar in the coming weeks.
  • Opportunities for Action
    • On September 30, funding expired for the NHSC. Your input is now even more crucial in telling Congress to act to restore funding. If you have not already done so, please take action and tell your representatives to continue the crucial work of the NHSC.
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