(Extensions of Remarks - April 26, 2013)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E574]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                            HON. KAREN BASS

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                         Friday, April 26, 2013

  Ms. BASS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Health IT 
Modernization for Underserved Communities Act, legislation that would 
amend the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical 
Health (HI TECH) Act to extend Electronic Health Record (EHR) Medicaid 
incentive payments to all physician assistants (PAs) whose patient 
volume includes at least 30 percent Medicaid and other financially 
needy beneficiaries.
  The HITECH Act currently offers the incentive payments to physicians 
and nurse practitioners who provide primary care to the requisite 30 
percent threshold of Medicaid recipients, but limits the EHR incentive 
payments to care provided by PAs in ``PA-led'' rural health clinics and 
federally qualified health centers.
  Enhanced, quality patient care is the goal of electronic health 
records, and patients are the ultimate beneficiaries of this 
legislation. The current HITECH limitation on Medicaid EHR limits the 
development of EHR systems for Medicaid beneficiaries who are served by 
PAs. This legislation extends additional support to community health 
centers and other medical practices in which PAs provide care to a high 
volume of Medicaid patients.
  I have firsthand knowledge of the key role of the Physician Assistant 
profession and the role the profession serves in bringing primary 
medical care to rural and other medically underserved communities. 
Before I was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and before I 
served in the California Assembly, I was a Physician Assistant, and I 
know that the PA profession adds tremendous value to our health care 
system. PAs provide quality, team-based, patient-centered medical care 
and extend the reach of medicine throughout the U.S. It is a cost-
efficient approach to providing needed medical care.
  There are over 90,000 practicing PAs in the U.S. today. PAs are one 
of three health care professionals providing primary medical care in 
the U.S. Although PAs practice in virtually all medical specialties, 
primary care is the largest area of specialty practice for PAs.
  The PA profession is uniquely flexible in adapting and responding to 
the evolving needs of the U.S. health care system by virtue of 
comprehensive educational programs that prepare PAs for a career in 
general medicine and a team-based approach to providing patient-
centered medical care.
  I am pleased to introduce this important legislation and ask my 
colleagues to join me in supporting the Health IT Modernization for 
Underserved Communities Act.