Legislation introduced allowing PAs to provide Medicare hospice benefit

The Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act of 2017, House Resolution 1284 (HR 1284), was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) on March 1. The legislation would allow PAs to provide and manage hospice care in the Medicare program.

The current inability of PAs to provide and manage hospice care for Medicare beneficiaries is an outdated roadblock to the continuous, clinically appropriate care that PAs provide. Because of this, Medicare beneficiaries who desire or need hospice care at the end of their lives face delays, disruption of care and denial of medically necessary care covered by Medicare. If enacted, Medicare beneficiaries throughout the nation will benefit from this important legislation, which authorizes PAs to provide and manage hospice care. The legislation will be especially helpful to PAs and Medicare patients in rural and other medically underserved communities where a PA may be the sole healthcare professional.

The ability of PAs to provide and manage hospice care offers continuity of care at a time when patients and their families are most vulnerable. For Medicare beneficiaries whose principal healthcare professional is a PA, HR 1284 provides access to hospice care. Representatives Jenkins and Thompson introduced an earlier version of this legislation in a previous session of Congress, and AAPA will continue to work to make needed changes in Medicare law by strongly advocating to enact this important legislation.

Use AAPA’s Advocacy Action Center today to encourage your representatives to support this PA-friendly Hospice Care bill. For more information on the bill, contact Tate Heuer, AAPA vice president, federal advocacy.