Physician Assistants Promoting Team-Based Health Care Head to Capitol Hill

Feb 16, 2011, 10:12 ET from American Academy of Physician Assistants

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The nation's physician assistants are carrying an urgent message when they meet with congressional representatives on February 17, calling for support of patient-centered, team-based models of health care. As part of the American Academy of Physician Assistants' Leadership Forum, more than 200 PAs will be encouraging members of Congress to support policies that allow America's 78,000 clinically practicing PAs to practice to the fullest extent of their authorization and expertise to meet the demands of a 21st century health care system.

"PAs are trained in the medical model, practice in every medical setting and specialty, and work side by side with doctors and other providers to deliver high-quality, team-based care," said Patrick Killeen, president of AAPA. "Equally important as every American having access to health care services is the removal of barriers for PAs conducting more than 350 million patient visits each year."

PAs are asking Congress to fully support policies cited in AAPA's legislative agenda, including:

  • Allowing PAs to provide hospice care for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Amending the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to extend Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentives to all PAs who meet the required threshold of care for Medicaid beneficiaries.
  • Amending federal law to allow PAs to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid addiction.

"It just makes sense to promote a team-based model in which patient care can be strategically coordinated, reducing the burden of unnecessary testing and treatment on patients and the health care system as a whole," Killeen said. "The removal of these barriers to care will allow PAs to infuse our health care system with much-needed medical expertise as we shift into new models of care."

Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of over 78,000 clinically practicing PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories, and within the armed forces and federal services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. AAPA works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants. It also works to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered health care.

SOURCE American Academy of Physician Assistants