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CMS Eliminates PA Practice Barriers in Rural Areas

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a rule on May 7 that provides regulatory relief for PAs and physicians who deliver care in rural communities. This advances a federal initiative to remove burdensome and unnecessary regulations.

The final rule eliminates a requirement for a physician to be physically on site once every two weeks at certified rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers and critical access hospitals (CAHs). PAs will continue to follow state law and facility policies.

Two additional issues in the rule include:

  • Confirmation of existing CMS policy that PAs may be members of a hospital’s medical staff.
  • Elimination of a requirement that CAH physicians review outpatient medical records at least bi-weekly for patients treated by PAs (or NPs). CMS will now defer to state law on this issue.

Ensuring patients receive timely access to medically necessary, high-quality care is the goal behind the federal effort to remove regulations that are outdated, don’t lead to improved patient care or are no longer reflective of the enhanced manner in which PAs deliver care.

For additional information contact Michael Powe, AAPA vice president of reimbursement and professional advocacy, at michael@aapa.org.