Senators urge CMS rulemaking to better account for rural care needs

AHA News Now

A bipartisan group of 34 senators today asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to better account for the unique circumstances of rural providers in its rulemaking process. Citing problematic policies such as the outpatient therapy supervision requirement and 96-hour rule, they asked CMS to share additional information on how the agency incorporates rural health care considerations into the rulemaking process and monitors the impact of final regulations on rural costs and access to care. “The proportion of elderly rural Americans continues to grow, and even small policy changes or incremental payment adjustments have a significant impact on access to care in rural areas,” the senators wrote. “…[W]e are committed to ensuring federal policies recognize and incorporate the unique challenges rural providers face.” The letter was initiated by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and John Thune (R-SD) with support from AHA.

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