Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Rep. Sewell Introduces Bipartisan Physician Assistant Direct Payment Act

Apr 13, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) joined Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) to introduce H.R. 5506, the Physician Assistant Direct Payment Act. This bill is designed to allow physician assistants (PAs) to receive direct payments from Medicare for the services they provide. Currently, PAs are the only Medicare-eligible health professionals not paid directly.

“In many communities across the country, including many in my district, medical professional shortages threaten healthcare access and quality,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “We know that there is tremendous need for more primary care providers in rural areas today and that this need will only grow during the next decade. Our Medicare payment policies must eliminate any barriers that stand in the way of our ability to attract qualified medical talent to rural and underserved areas, including both physician and non-physician providers, such as physician assistants,” said Rep. Sewell. “This is why I am proud to introduce a bipartisan bill with Rep. Adrian Smith that would allow physicians assistants to receive direct payments from Medicare for the services they provide, just like every other Medicare-eligible health professional. As rural areas increasingly rely on practitioners such as physicians assistants to deliver primary care services, this is a step forward in our overall work to improve access to quality healthcare in rural areas.”

“Rural communities, like many in Nebraska’s Third District, continue to lack the variety of healthcare options afforded to other areas of the country,” said Rep. Adrian Smith. “This narrowly-targeted, bipartisan solution repeals a burdensome regulation which disincentivizes the hiring of physician assistants. At present, Medicare payments to PAs must pass through a third party medical practice, which is an unnecessary and bureaucratic step. This bill will improve access to care in rural communities without impacting the scope of practice, education, or licensing requirements for PAs.”


Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.