New CMS Rule Provides Additional PA Practice Flexibility

Interim Final Rule Temporarily Authorizes PAs to Supervise Diagnostic Tests

April 30, 2020

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today released additional regulatory flexibilities for PAs in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). The Medicare and Medicaid Programs Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency interim final rule temporarily authorizes PAs to supervise diagnostic tests. Previously, PAs were able to personally perform Medicare diagnostic tests, but they could not supervise other trained clinical staff who performed the technical component of these diagnostic tests. This policy change is in effect through the PHE.

In addition, the final rule provides regulations that finalize the ability of PAs to certify/order home health for Medicare beneficiaries. AAPA-sponsored legislation passed as part of the CARES Act in March authorized PAs to order Medicare home health. CMS had six months to implement the legislative provision. Due to lobbying efforts by AAPA and others, CMS expedited the regulatory process and the ability for PAs (and advanced practice nurses) to order home health are permanent and applicable to services provided on or after March 1, 2020.

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