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Congressman Adrian Smith

Representing the 3rd District of Nebraska


Smith Introduces Bipartisan Physician Assistant Direct Payment Act

April 13, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) joined Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) to introduce H.R. 5506, the Physician Assistant Direct Payment Act, to allow physician assistants (PAs) to directly bill Medicare.

Statement by Smith:

“Rural communities, like many in Nebraska’s Third District, continue to lack the variety of healthcare options afforded to other areas of the country. This narrowly-targeted, bipartisan solution repeals a burdensome regulation which disincentivizes the hiring of physician assistants (PAs.) At present, Medicare payments to PAs must pass through a third party medical practice, which is an unnecessary and bureaucratic step. This bill will improve access to care in rural communities without impacting the scope of practice, education, or licensing requirements for PAs.”

Statement by Sewell:

“In many communities across the country, including many in my district, medical professional shortages threaten healthcare access and quality,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “We know that there is tremendous need for more primary care providers in rural areas today and that this need will only grow during the next decade. Our  Medicare payment policies must eliminate any barriers that stand in the way of our ability to attract qualified medical talent to rural and underserved areas, including both physician and non-physician providers, such as physician assistants,” said Rep. Sewell. “This is why I am proud to introduce a bipartisan bill with Rep. Adrian Smith that would allow physicians assistants to receive direct payments from Medicare for the services they provide, just like every other Medicare-eligible health professional. As rural areas increasingly rely on practitioners such as physicians assistants to deliver primary care services, this is a step forward in our overall work to improve access to quality healthcare in rural areas.”