On March 1, 2017, Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2) and Mike Thompson (D-CA-5) introduced the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act, H.R. 1284, to the 115th Congress. The bill was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill is similar to the Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act of 2015, which was introduced to the 114th Congress on March 2, 2015.
H.R. 1284 would expand access to hospice care by allowing physician assistants (PAs) to provide hospice care to patients who elect the Medicare hospice benefit. Per current policy, only medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy and nurse practitioners may serve as an attending physician for hospice care. Current regulations also require patients already receiving care from a PA to establish care with a physician or nurse practitioner upon transitioning to the hospice benefit, which can be inconvenient. The Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act would allow the patient to continue receiving care from the PA during the transition to hospice care. AGG will continue to monitor this bill and any subsequent amendments.