Beginning on January 1, 2019, Physician Assistants can begin billing for their services and join hospice providers to care for our dying. In the early morning hours of February 9, 2018, the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act HR 1284 was signed, allowing PAs to be reimbursed for their services caring for hospice patients. [Collective sigh]…..It’s about time!
115TH CONGRESS 1ST SESSION H. R. 1284 To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for the recognition of attending physician assistants as attending physicians to serve hospice patients, and for other purposes.
Impacts for Physician Assistants
Many years of work and legislative effort from grass roots to corporate leaders have been promoting this bill and at last it has come to pass. Until this monumental legislation, PAs have been unable to practice in the hospice field because of lack of reimbursement. As the care for our dying is already impacted by a severe workforce shortage, leaving this talented group of professionals out of the loop has been a serious misstep.
More Work to be done
Though this legislation paves the way, there is still much to do. PAs leaders are currently working with legislative bodies to define the details as to how this actually translates into practice. A vital first step is to prepare PAs as they enter the hospice world. Education resources are key. The University of Colorado’s newly launched Masters of Science in Palliative Care program is in place to help PAs unlock the knowledge needed to provide high quality palliative care to this population.
We are thrilled this door has opened up for PAs and they can now take their place alongside their colleagues caring for the seriously ill patients and families we serve.
Stay tuned for further developments!
Read the full bill: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1284/text