CMS Authorizes PAs to Deliver Limited Care to Patients in Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities

AAPA Continues to Fight for Patient Access to PA-Provided Care

September 21, 2020

By Michael Powe, Vice President of Reimbursement & Professional Advocacy

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalized a policy change authorizing PAs to deliver limited care to patients in inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRF).

The IRF final rule authorized PAs to perform one of the three weekly required IRF visits beginning with the patient’s second week of care. Previously, Medicare rules required that a physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine personally perform all three weekly visits.

In June, AAPA sent a letter CMS Administrator Seema Verma, advocating for a rule change authorizing PAs to perform all required physician visits. In an earlier proposed IRF rule, CMS recommended that PAs be able to provide all required physician visits. However, opposition from numerous physician medical societies and associations caused CMS to pull back on its original proposal and finalize a policy authorizing PAs to deliver limited care in IRFs.

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AAPA will continue to advocate for updating regulations to ensure that PAs can practice to the top of their education and expertise. Authorizing qualified PAs to perform all required IRF visits will help create a robust rehabilitation work force and provide patients with timely access to medically necessary rehab services.

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