Lobbyist’s fight long and hard to sway members of Congress to their causes, hoping to find an advocate for their particular legislative woes. So, physician assistants should be pleased to know that, without any lobbying at all, they have their very own advocate in Congress.
A former PA, Representative Karen Bass of California, recently pushed for legislation to make sure that students hoping to become physician assistants have access to the educational resources they need to succeed.
“PAs across the nation are providing high quality healthcare to patients in bout our largest cities and in America’s most rural areas,” said Rep. Bass, “In the next decade the demand for PAs is only going to increase and Congress needs to act today to make sure that we have the qualified health care professionals ready to meet the growing need.”
Bass introduced two bills that could have a huge impact on the role that physician assistants play in healthcare. The first of these is H.R. 3943. This measure would expand scholarship opportunities for PAs in several different ways. First, it offers scholarships and loan repayment for students who are willing to return and teach PA students. It also offers scholarships and repayment for PAs who choose to work in areas without appropriate medical care or in community health centers.
The second is H.R. 3944. This works alongside 3943 to improve the quality of PA programs overall and to increase grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities to develop and improve PA programs.
While these bills are still in the midst of the legislative process, they have the potential to radically change the role that PAs have to play in the face of increasing shortages in the medical field. Hopefully, Congress will recognize the impact that PAs could make and implement some of the proposals put forth by Representative Bass