National Rural Health Association Releases Policy Brief on PAs

Brief Focuses on Modernizing Laws to Improve Rural Areas

May 10, 2018

In a recently published policy brief co-authored by National Rural Health Association (NRHA) members, the organization puts forth its views in “Physician Assistants: Modernize Laws to Improve Rural Access.” The brief also outlines recommendations to enable PAs to maximize their contribution in delivering healthcare in rural settings. Notably, these recommendations are fully aligned with AAPA’s policy, Optimal Team Practice.

“Analysts’ predictions of physician workforce shortages paint a dire picture for rural America. For decades, rural communities have fought to maintain healthcare services. Even recent federal efforts to improve access to care by improving insurance coverage did not get to the heart of the rural access issue—a shortage of providers.

PAs are one of three professions providing primary care in the United States, along with physicians and advanced practice registered nurses. Despite 50 years of high-quality, cost-effective practice, there are still state and federal laws and regulations that prevent PAs from practicing to the fullest extent of their education and experience. Likewise, new and emerging models of care sometimes fail to fully recognize PA contributions, diminishing the value they could bring to rural patients and communities. Fifteen percent of PAs already practice in rural areas, positioning them to make an immediate and substantial impact on the supply of care if these regulations can be lightened.”

The NRHA is a national nonprofit membership organization with more than 21,000 members. Its mission is to provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research.  Members include a diverse group of individuals and organizations that share an interest in rural health.

All members set the policies and positions that NRHA advocates for; positions are then reviewed and approved by the Rural Health Congress.

Read more here.