Walorski Introduces Bill to Improve Access to Hospice Care in Rural Communities

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Walorski Introduces Bill to Improve Access to Hospice Care in Rural Communities

Bipartisan Rural Access to Hospice Act Would Ensure Patients in Rural Areas Can Choose Own Doctor for Hospice Care

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help ensure Hoosier seniors and their families have access to hospice care in rural communities. The Rural Access to Hospice Act would fix a technical glitch in Medicare law that prevents many patients in rural communities from receiving hospice care from their local primary care provider.

“For Americans in rural communities and other underserved areas, Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Centers play a critical role in providing access to affordable, quality health care,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “These patients shouldn’t lose the doctor they know and trust when they enter hospice care simply because of where they live. The bipartisan Rural Access to Hospice Act will fix a technical glitch to ensure seniors can access hospice care and choose their own doctor as the attending physician.”

BACKGROUND

When Medicare patients enroll in hospice, they select a physician or nurse practitioner to serve as attending physician. Unlike other services, rural health clinics (RHCs) and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) cannot bill Medicare for hospice services, which prevents some patients from receiving care from their local provider. The Rural Access to Hospice Act would fix this glitch and allow RHCs and FQHCs to receive payment for hospice care.

The bill was introduced with Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.). Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.).

The full text of the Rural Access to Hospice Act is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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