House Veterans' Affairs Committee Passes Hare's Legislation to Establish Director of Physician Assistant Services at the Veterans Health Administration
The House Veterans' Affairs Committee today passed Congressman Phil Hare's bipartisan legislation to establish a Director of Physician Assistant (PA) Services at the Veterans Health Administration, clearing the way for it to be considered by the full House of Representatives.
"Many veterans in rural areas rely on PAs as their primary source of medical care," Hare said. "Establishing a Director of PA Services will ensure that their concerns are being heard at the highest levels of the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA)."
The VA currently has an Advisor of Physician Assistants who works part time and is based in the field. Hare's legislation would elevate this position to full-time Director and require that it is based out of the VA's Central Office in Washington DC.
The VA is the largest employer of PAs in the countrynumbering around 1,600. About one-quarter of all primary care patients in the VA system are seen by PAs. "Veterans that live in underserved, rural areas made the same sacrifices as their urban and suburban counterparts," Hare said. "With a disproportionate number of these brave men and women using PAs, it is critical that we put a system in place to best serve their needs."
"The American Academy of Physician Assistants applauds the leadership of Congressman Phil Hare for introducing and promoting HR 2790, legislation to establish a full time Director of Physician Assistant Services in the VA Central Office," said Gregor Bennett, President of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. "As a veteran and a physician assistant, I know this position is long overdue and will surely result in better utilization of the VA's PA workforce and improved patient care for our nation's veterans."
"We appreciate the leadership of Mr. Hare in introducing this bill," said Joseph Violante, National Legislative Director of Disabled American Veterans. "VA was historically the innovator of the profession of Physician Assistant (PA), and nationally it is the largest single employer of PAs, so it is ironic that VA has been dragging its feet in designating a full time PA manager in VA Central Office. We thank Mr. Hare for his forward thinking, and we pledge to support enactment of his bill."