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U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Tom Carper, D-Del., introduced the bipartisan Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act today, which would allow physician assistants to provide and manage hospice care for Medicare beneficiaries. 

In rural and other medically under-served communities, physician assistants may be the only health care professional available for hospice care. But under current Medicare law, physician assistants are not allowed to serve as a hospice attending physician. This can create an access problem for patients, especially for individuals who already receive their primary care from a physician assistants and must give up that provider when they elect hospice care.

“Patients in need of hospice care should not have to worry that they will be unable to receive quality care because of unnecessary regulations,” Enzi said. “The Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act would make a common sense change in order to provide patients with more options for hospice care, especially for rural communities like those in Wyoming.”

“The Medicare Patient Access to Hospice Act gives Medicare patients better access to high-quality, compassionate care as they seek to make the best choices possible about their treatment options,” Carper said. “This bill is the right thing to do, and it’s an example of how Democrats and Republicans can work together to strengthen Medicare and make its benefits accessible to all the program’s beneficiaries.”

Enzi and Carper also introduced this legislation in 2015.