A bipartisan group of four senators introduced a rural health bill that aims to boost or maintain payments to rural hospitals, physicians and other providers in various ways, according to an e-mailed news release from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Bill aims to bolster rural provider payments
The Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act would increase payments to hospitals with a disproportionate share of Medicare and Medicaid patients; increase payments to rural hospitals that have a low volume of discharges; and extend a 10% bonus payment to physicians who practice in a health professional shortage area, among other changes, according to the release.
The bill, which was not posted on the Library of Congress' Thomas website by deadline, was co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).
“Rural hospitals, healthcare providers, ambulance companies and home healthcare professionals are at a disadvantage because of unfair Medicare reimbursement rules, and this bill will help eliminate the inequities that hinder them from providing the best possible care for Medicare patients all over the country,” Harkin said in the release.
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