Rural Pass-Through Legislation
Many states face ongoing challenges in assuring access to medical care services for their citizens living in rural areas. Insufficient Medicare payments and low patient volume have made it particularly difficult for many rural facilities to attract and retain qualified health care providers. In response to these challenges, Congress has enacted a variety of incentive programs to encourage providers to practice in rural areas.
Under current Medicare policy, eligible hospitals may use reasonable-costs based Part A funds in lieu of the conventional Part B fee schedule to induce anesthesia providers such as anesthesiologist assistants (a type of physician assistant) and nurse anesthetists to provide anesthesia services in small rural hospitals and critical access facilities. Under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) current interpretation of the statute creating the "pass-through" program, eligible rural hospitals are not permitted to use the "pass-through" funds to employ or contract with anesthesiologists.
ASA's One-Page Issue Paper
List of all Hospitals Eligible for Rural Pass-Through
ASA developed FAQs on the Legislation