New and Important Legislation to Track

HR 1195

National Health Service Corps Improvement Act of 2011

Introduced March 17 by Reps. McMorris Rodgers (Sponsor-WA 5), Ross (AR 5), and McIntyre (NC 7)

Referred to House Energy and Commerce Committee; no hearing scheduled to date.

Bill would amend NHSC program to include optometry for purposes of loan repayments, scholarship programs, and primary care payments.

HR 1187

Fix HIT Act of 2011

Introduced March 17 by Reps. Kinzinger (sponsor-ILL. 11) and Inslee (WA. 1)

Referred to House Energy and Commerce Committee; no hearing scheduled to date.

Bill would amend 42 U.S.C. 1396b(t)(6)(A)(i) to specifically state that payments “are paid directly to the federally qualified health center or rural health clinic in which the provider predominantly practices, without any deduction or rebate” whereas current language does not specify FQHCs or RHCs by name.

S. 643

Fix HIT Act of 2011

Introduced March 17 by Sens. Stabenow (sponsor-MICH.) and Snowe (ME)

Referred to Senate Finance Committee; no hearing scheduled to date.

Bill would amend 42 U.S.C. 1396b(t)(6)(A)(i) to specifically state that payments “are paid directly to the federally qualified health center or rural health clinic in which the provider predominantly practices, without any deduction or rebate” whereas current language does not specify FQHCs or RHCs by name.

S. 51

Rural Preventive Health Care Training Act of 2011

Introduced January 25 by Sen. Inouye (HI)

Referred to Senate HELP Committee; no hearing scheduled to date.

Bill would start program allowing for grants to rural community colleges to increase staff and provide opportunities for continuing education designed to teach preventative health principles. Bill would amend/add section to Part D of title VII of the Public Health Service Act to establish program and secure funding.

S. 604

Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2011

Introduced March 17, 2011 by Sens. Wyden(Sponsor-OR.), Barrasso(WY.), Brown (Ohio), Inouye (HI), Johnson (SD), Begich(AK) and Durbin (IL)

Referred to Senate Finance Committee; no hearing scheduled to date.

To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for the coverage of marriage and family therapist services and mental health counselor services under part B of the Medicare program, and for other purposes.  Bill would add marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors to Medicare approved providers in Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers. Payments for marriage and family therapists or mental health counselors would be 80% actual charge or 75% of what a clinical psychiatrist would charge.

HR 560

Rural Representation and Transparency Improvement Act

Introduced February 8 by Reps. Walden (WA 2), Matheson (UT-2), McMorris-Rodgers (WA 5), Ross (AR 5), Thomson (CA 1)

Rural Representation and Transparency Improvement Act - Amends titles XVIII (Medicare) and XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to require that the proportion of members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC) and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) who represent the interests of health care providers and Medicare beneficiaries located in rural areas be no less than the proportion of the total number of Medicare beneficiaries who reside in such areas.

Referred to House Ways and Means Committee; no hearing scheduled to date

HR 575

HEALTHY Vets Act of 2011

Introduced February 8 by Reps. Pearce (NM-2) and Ross (AR-4)

Requires Secretary of Veterans Affairs to help provide primary care and other necessary medical treatment for veterans living in rural areas who cannot access care by contracting with local clinics, hospitals, etc. to provide these services.

Referred to House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; no hearing scheduled to date

S 424 (See Also: HR 1005)

Medicare Ambulance Access Preservation Act of 2011

Introduced March 1 by Sens. Schumer (NY), Roberts (KS), Conrad (VT), Collins (ME), and Sanders (VT)

Extends to January 1, 2018, the increase in the base rate of the fee schedule the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) is required to make for a trip in the case of ground ambulance services furnished on or after July 1, 2004, for which the transportation originates in a qualified low population density rural area.

Referred to Senate Finance Committee; no hearing scheduled to date

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