The Health Resources and Services Administration has withdrawn its proposed rule on medically underserved populations, and said it will issue a new one, according to the agencys comments in the Federal Register on July 23. The HRSA received many substantive comments about its proposed rule and said it will consider those carefully.
Based on a preliminary review of the comments, it appears that the HRSA will need to make a number of changes in the proposed rule, the agency said in the Federal Register summary. The HRSA is an HHS agency that is responsible for improving access to healthcare services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable, according to the HRSAs Web site.
On Feb. 29, HRSA published the rule, which would have combined the medically underserved population and health professional shortage areas into one designation, the single Index of Primary Care Underservice. The agency provided a 30-day public comment period, but a growing level of interest caused the HRSA to offer two 30-day extensions. The American Hospital Association opposed the rule because, the AHA said, it is not possible to determine with certainty what designation or funding level a health center, clinic, population or area would receive the HRSAs single designation, and also because the data used in the rules analysis date back to 1999. In late May, the AHA called on the HRSA to withdraw the rule. -- by Jessica Zigmond