March 14, 2011
Important Rural Pass Through Legislation Introduced
On Friday, March 11, Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), and Todd Akin (R-MO) introduced H.R. 1044, the “Medicare Access to Rural Anesthesiology Act.” ASA strongly supports this legislation that would increase rural patients’ access to high quality anesthesia services provided by an anesthesiologist.
Under current Medicare policy, certain small rural hospitals may use Part A funds on a “pass-through” basis to pay for the services of anesthesiologist assistants and nurse anesthetists. When this policy was created in the 1980s, it did not include a provision that would permit hospitals to use pass-through funds for anesthesiologists. H.R. 1044 would resolve this oversight and increase patient access to anesthesiology care in medically underserved areas throughout the United States.