NRHA's Rural Health Voices blog offers informed commentary on the latest news in rural health care from NRHA staff and editorials from selected contributors.

Senate Passes Repeal of Extended 1099 Tax Reporting

On Tuesday, the Senate passed HR 4 to fully repeal the expanded 1099 reporting contained in last year's health care law. While the President would need to sign the bill before it becomes law, the White House has indicated its pleasure that the bill has passed and that it supports its principles. Many lawmakers have expressed concern that this provision, which requires businesses to file 1099 forms with the Internal Revenue Service for payments of $600 or more to vendors, would create an...

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Week in Review and Legislative Spotlight

On March 30, 2011, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies...

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Status of the Continuing Resolution and Appropriations 2012

The status of the appropriations process for fiscal year (FY) 2011 remains in a state of flux. Both political parties have indicated a desire to finalize one last continuing resolution (CR) for the remainder of FY 2011 instead of passing multiple, short-term CRs. The current CR (PL 112-6) is set to expire on April 8. If the two political parties do not reach an agreement by then, a government shutdown will ensue. Notwithstanding the status of affairs for the rest of FY 2011, the budget and...

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This Week's Capitol Hill Hearings

Wednesday, March 30:10:00 am: Senate Appropriations: Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies. Hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2012 for the Department of Health and Human Services. Witnesses: Kathleen Sebelius-Secretary of Health and Human ServicesFriday, April 1:10 A.M. Subcommittee HearingLabor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee (Chairman Rehberg, R-Mont.) of...

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New and Important Legislation to Track

HR 1195National Health Service Corps Improvement Act of 2011Introduced 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 1187Fix HIT Act of 2011Introduced March 17 by Reps. Kinzinger (sponsor-ILL. 11) and Inslee (WA. 1)Referred to House Energy and...

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New/Important Legislation to Track

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Health reform bill: one year later

National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care Report Released by HHS

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care. The Strategy presents three aims:   Better Care: Improve the overall quality, by making health care more patient-centered, reliable, accessible, and safe. Healthy People & Communities: Improve the health of the U.S. population by supporting proven interventions to address behavioral, social, and environmental determinants of health in addition to delivering higher-quality care....

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Protect Access to Rural Hospitals

As you may know, the Congressional Budget Office recently released a report detailing ways in which the federal spending deficit could be reduced. One of their options, Mandatory Spending Option 24, suggests eliminating the Critical Access Hospital, Sole Community Hospital and Medicare Dependent Hospital programs. These facilities provide critical access to rural patients across the nation. To ensure this care Congress created special Medicare reimbursement rates benefiting cost-based care....

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Health Profession Shortage Areas

This week in Washington DC is the March meeting of the Health Resources Services Administration Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. This Committee's purpose is to reconsider how Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) are designated. I expect to see some impact testing this week from some of our tentative decisions to date. That may help us also to gain a better insight on the Committee's ability to ultimately reach consensus on many of these...

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