National Rural Health Association

2014 Annual Conference

NRHA testimony

At the federal level, a hearing is a meeting or session of a committee or subcommittee of the Senate, House, Joint or Special Committee of Congress. These hearings are usually open to the public and are intended to obtain information and opinions on proposed legislation, conduct an investigation or evaluate/oversee the activities of a government department or the implementation of a federal law. In addition, hearings may also be purely exploratory in nature, providing testimony and data about topics of current interest. 

NRHA and its membership are often invited to testify as part of these Congressional hearings. We usually inform our members of this testimony and what we said through our eNews and on our web site. We list our official testimony below in chronological order.

2011

Expiring Medicare Provider Payment Provisions Hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Health 

On Sept. 28, NRHA submitted testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Health concerning various expiring Medicare provider payments. A number of Medicare provider payment policies are set to expire on or before Dec. 31, 2011. The hearing focused on examining these payment policies to determine if further extensions are warranted and the impact these provisions have on health care providers.

NRHA testified that Medicare provider payment provisions are vital to the rural health care safety net. A primary concern of the testimony is payment equity and access to care in the Medicare system, where rural beneficiaries are most likely to enroll.

  • Read NRHA's testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Health.

 2008

Appropriations Hearing in the House Labor-HHS Subcommittee  

On March 13, NRHA President Paul Moore testified before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. The hearing focused on the needed funding of public health programs. Mr. Moore testified that the rural health safety net needed to be fully funded by Congress.

Workforce Training Hearing in the Senate HELP Committee

On February 12, NRHA President-Elect Beth Landon testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The hearing focused on workforce training challenges. Ms. Landon testified that rural America faces a looming health workforce crisis and that Congress needs to act immediately to address it. Public policy priorities cited by Ms. Landon included Title VII and VIII including the Area Health Education Center program reauthorizations, National Health Service Corps expansion, rural Graduate Medical Education payments and a fair reimbursement structure.

On January 30, Daryl Weaver of Yazoo, Miss., testified before the Senate Finance Committee on behalf of the NRHA. The hearing focused on Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans. Mr. Weaver testified that rural providers, especially Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics, are not paid appropriately by Medicare Advantage PFFS plans and that this threatens the rural health safety net. His testimony also included concern that rural seniors are being incorrectly enrolled in Medicare Advantage PFFS plans.

 

2007

Rural Summit in House Appropriations Subcommittee

On June 27, NRHA Board Member Greg Dent testified before the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations. The hearing was a Rural Summit to address the needs of rural America that can be addressed by the House Appropriations Committee. Mr. Dent's testimony included discussion of rural health's impact on the local economy, the need for adequate payments and the expansion of grants for infrastructure and health information technology.

Testimony for Official Record of House Veterans Affairs Committee

On June 14, Rural Health Congress Chair Andy Behrman, US Navy (retired), submitted testimony for the record of a House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Subcommittee on Health hearing. The hearing focused on H.R. 2005, the Rural Veterans Health care Improvement Act of 2007. Mr. Behrman's testimony focused on increasing access points and targeting care for rural veterans, increasing traumatic brain injury care and improving the Office of Rural Health.

Medicare Advantage PFFS Hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee

On May 22, NRHA Board Member Brock Slabach testified before the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee on behalf of the NRHA. The hearing focused on Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS) plans. Mr. Slabach testified that rural providers, especially Critical Access Hospitals and Rural Health Clinics, are not paid appropriately by Medicare Advantage PFFS plans and that this threatens the rural health safety net. His testimony also included concern that rural seniors are being incorrectly enrolled in Medicare Advantage PFFS plans.

Health Access for Veterans in the House Veterans Affairs Committee

On April 17, Rural Health Congress Chair Andy Behrman, US Navy (retired), testified to the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. The oversight hearing looked to address how easy it is to access health care for vets. Mr. Behrman's testimony focused on rural veterans and the need to increase access points to care and to improve the Office of Rural Health.

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