Rural Health Reform - NRHA October Update
It’s an unusually warm October in D.C., which may or may not be a product of the heated behind-closed-doors health reform debate in the House and Senate. (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one)
With all five Congressional Committees finished marking up their individual health reform bills, the House and Senate must now each agree on a single melded version to bring to their respective floor.
The NRHA worked diligently up to this point to ensure each Committee, all with varying jurisdictions over specific issues, remembered to give rural America a seat at the health reform table.
As with most legislation, some good provisions were included, while some were left out. There was a strong focus on the rural health care workforce, with provisions including:
- Protection of rural residency slots
- Rural training track programs
- Creation of a workforce shortage advisory committee
As well as strong Medicare provisions:
- Extension of the floor on Medicare work geographic adjustment (GPCI)
- Two-year extensions of important Medicare provisions for rural providers
- Temporary relief to low-volume hospitals
- Home health add-on for home health in rural areas.
There were, however, many important rural provisions left out. Some were originally filed in their respective Committee but never brought before the full membership for a vote, and some were left out altogether. Fortunately, however, we still have time to add them via Senate and House floor amendments.
Please see the link below for the NRHA's health reform website for more information on possible rural floor amendments to the final health reform bill. Please contact your House and Senate representatives to remind them that true health reform cannot be achieved without ensuring the 25% of Americans in rural America have ACCESS to good quality health care, and to support important rural amendments on the House and Senate Floor.
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