NRHA Advocates Extension of Rural Medicare "Extenders"

In recognition of the challenges that rural hospital, physicians, other practitioners, emergency medical services, and patients face in accessing and delivering primary and emergency care Congress has enacted a number of programs that help rural providers meet their distinct challenges. Many of these programs and payment adjustments, though, are not permanent and many are set to expire at the end of 2011.  These payment adjustments are vital to ensuring the ongoing stability and health of rural hospitals, physicians, practitioners and ambulance services. That is why NRHA sent a letter to the chairs of the House Rural Health Care Coalition and Senate Rural Health Caucus asking that these programs be continued.  In part the letter states, "These programs are vital to the continuing well-being of the rural health care system.  We encourage you...to make these programs a high priority at this critical juncture." Included in these "extenders" are programs to help adequately reimburse rural ambulance trips, psychiatric services, the work geographic index floor, and many others.  NRHA encourages all association members and rural health advocates to contact their representatives and senators and encourage them to make sure these vital rural programs and payment adjustments are extended. Please visit NRHA's website at ruralhealthweb.org and this blog to get the most recent news on these important programs.