May 01, 2015
ASA Applauds Introduction of Medicare Access to Rural Anesthesiology Act in House
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) applauds the introduction of the bipartisan Medicare Access to Rural Anesthesiology Act in the House of Representatives yesterday by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-05) and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO-01). H.R. 2138, the Medicare Access to Rural Anesthesiology Act, is ASA-supported legislation that would expand rural access to physician anesthesiologists.
“Improving access to healthcare in rural communities has always been one of my top priorities,” said Congresswoman Jenkins. “We must ensure folks living in these communities have a system that functions efficiently and cost-effectively, and encourages physicians to practice there. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation today to increase access to anesthesiology professionals for our rural hospitals and start tackling the growing shortage of anesthesiologists in rural communities.”
“Whether we live in urban, rural, or suburban neighborhoods, we all need access to health care,” stated Congressman Cleaver, II. “Qualified rural hospitals in Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties, and in all rural areas, deserve the resources to attract and retain physician anesthesiologists for rural patients. Ensuring that our rural residents have increased access to health care is critical to maintaining a vibrant community. I am pleased to work with Congresswoman Jenkins to introduce this bipartisan bill to give qualified rural hospitals the resources to attract and retain physician anesthesiologists for rural patients.”
Currently, many rural areas of the country face challenges in recruiting and retaining physicians to serve rural patients. This legislation reforms Medicare’s rural incentive payment for all types of anesthesia providers and extends rural hospitals’ access to physician anesthesiologists. Under this legislation, rural hospitals could expand access to physician anesthesiologist services and be able to more readily recruit and retain physician anesthesiologists who may want to serve their rural communities, providing greater access to physician care.
ASA thanks Congresswoman Jenkins and Congressman Cleaver for their continued leadership on rural access to care, and hopes this legislation will quickly advance. Additionally, Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX-08) has unveiled draft legislation, the Hospital Improvements for Payment (HIP) Act, which includes rural pass-through provisions for anesthesia services. ASA is pleased that Congress is including access to physician anesthesia services as part of legislation aimed at Medicare improvement and reform.
H.R. 2138 has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.