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SPAR attends LAS 2022

Posted 5 months ago

The agenda of LAS this year was advocating for support for two bills. The first is the Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation, S. 1986 / H.R. 1956. 


This particular bill has already been approved, which would allow PA’s to refer and manage pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation programs. The reason this was being discussed is to move the starting date of this from 2024 to the end of the year.  


The second bill raised for discussion was the Improving Access to Workers’ Compensation for Injured Federal Workers Act H.R. 6087. This would allow a PA to provide continuation of care to federal employees if they are injured on the job. Unfortunately, as it stands now, we are not able to care for a federal employee if injury occurs while at work. This is a dangerous issue, especially when primary care is booking out and urgent cares are typically staffed with PA / NP.  


This bill was expected to pass, however a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus believed this would extend the scope of practice for PA’s. The AMA was quickly alerted, and the bill was voted against at the last moment.  The bill specifically states in the wording that this would NOT affect scope of practice.  


Michigan participants were to meet with Representative Upton, staff of Senator Stabenow, and staff of Senator Peters. Due to a pending government shut down, Congressman Upton was unable to make the meeting.  


All staffers were knowledgeable and informed of these particular bills.  Senator Peter’s was chairman of homeland security and since the H.R. 6087 involves federal employees, it goes through homeland security. His staffer for homeland security is not familiar with healthcare related issues. He was very open and stated he was hoping to see us, since the AMA came two weeks prior asking them to vote against the bill.   


Once this was explained, he stated understanding and was surprised by the information we presented. He believed it was very practical for HR 6087 to go through but would discuss it with the Senator. 


Senator Stabenow’s staffer knew the majority of specific details and stated understanding. She wasn’t sure about passing S. 1986 / H.R. 1956 by end of the year, however she did say Senator Stabenow did vote yes on this particular issue. We informed her of the probable upcoming HR 6087.  


Representative Upton voted yes for both previously.  It was interesting that most everyone we talked to either received care from a PA or has a friend or family member that is a PA. 


Being an election year, tensions were high. This was an eye-opening experience for me. I have never been to our capitol, so every aspect of this trip was new.  It taught me how ridiculous some of the laws are based on outdated wording. We truly do need to advocate, not just for our profession, but the benefit of our patients.  


Since the executive director of MAPA was in my group, we also experienced some unexpected additions such as Gallery passes to Senate, walking through the tunnels and taking Senate Subway.  


Many people at the LAS were amazed about what Rheumatology PA’s do and had great respect for our sub-specialty. There was education that took place regarding Rheumatology, along with the current demand v. supply. Information was exchanged between various states.  


I truly appreciate SPAR allowing me to participate, in a unique way, regarding our profession. It has inspired me to continue moving forward with increased involvement and advocacy for physician associates.   


Thank you again. I am happy to answer any questions via email or phone call since I am unable to attend the meeting.  

-Jennifer Knip, PA-C


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