How is AAPA advocating for PAs during the COVID-19 response?
Through work with the White House, Congress, and federal agencies, AAPA is:
- Ensuring that PAs are authorized to order home healthcare services for Medicare patients. The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act was included in the most recent COVID-19 emergency legislation passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President. Many healthcare facilities will soon face an influx of patients. With this crucial change, PAs will be able to help free up beds for COVID-19 patients and assist in stopping the spread of the virus while ensuring continuity of care for their patients. This has been an important issue for PAs for over a decade and we were able to fast-track it as part of the response to this crisis.
- Working to waive supervision requirements. The Administration does not have the power to waive state supervision requirements. This action is required by governors and/or state legislatures. However, we are requesting the Administration encourage governors to remove barriers to PA care such as supervision and licensure requirements. AAPA is also working to waive physician supervision requirements for PAs employed by the federal government and for PAs providing Medicare/Medicaid services.
- Communicating our support for crucial federal efforts. AAPA’s core mission is to advocate for PAs, and we work to ensure PAs are treated equitably as healthcare providers in legislation and executive orders. But during this public health crisis, we are also urging the federal government to take other steps to protect patients and all providers in the response to COVID-19. AAPA is voicing its support for improved access to care for patients; increased availability of PPE for providers; and expedited development of a vaccine, among other measures.
- Working with major commercial insurers, asking them to follow the lead of the federal government in relaxing healthcare delivery requirements and eliminating any barriers to PA practice, especially for psychiatric and mental health services being provided to patients.
At the state level, AAPA and our PA state chapter partners are:
- Urging governors to waive supervisory or collaborative agreements for PAs. Some states have not waived these agreements for PAs during disasters or emergencies. In those states, AAPA is partnering with state chapters to advocate for executive orders from governors to include language temporarily waiving these agreements and immediately granting PAs more flexibility to respond to this crisis (permanent change needs to be addressed by the state legislature). Since many state legislatures have suspended their sessions in accordance with social distancing guidelines, executive orders are the fastest method for granting PAs this flexibility. AAPA has also asked the National Governors Association to recommend to their members that they waive these requirements.
- Working to give PAs more opportunities to contribute through telehealth, or across state lines. The executive orders mentioned above also give PAs more opportunity to provide a wide range of medical services to Medicare beneficiaries via telemedicine across state lines as authorized by state law, or travel to other states to provide care.