House Bill Introduced To Preserve Rural Home Health Services

Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Ron Kind (D-WI) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) recently re-introduced the Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act (H.R. 3859). The purpose of the bill, according to its sponsors, is to protect and preserve access for Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas to health care providers under the Medicare program. Sens. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and John Barrasso (R-WY) re-introduced a similar version of this legislation, the Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act (S. 1680), last fall.

Several provisions of these bills are of special interest to home health care providers. Both the House and Senate versions would increase the home health rural add-on payment from 3 percent to 5 percent for calendar year 2012. Both bills also include provisions from the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act which would allow nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and physicians’ assistants to certify home health plans of care in both rural and urban areas. This legislation also contains a number of provisions of interest to rural hospitals, physicians, health clinics, and ambulance services.

Call to Action

Click here to send a message to Senators Nelson and Rubio and your U.S. representative in support of these bills to protect access to home care in rural areas!

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