Rural Access to Hospice Act 2019 S. 1190 / H.R. 2594
People in the final stages of life should have access to high quality compassionate hospice care no matter where they live, and to the attending physician of their choice.
BUT, a technicality in current law forces many patients living in remote and hard to reach areas who receive care at rural health clinics (RHC) and federally qualified health centers (FQHC) to give up treatment for their terminal condition by their primary care provider if they want to receive hospice services.
When patients enroll in hospice, they select a physician or nurse practitioner to serve as their attending physician. Typically, the attending physician is reimbursed for these services under Medicare Part B. Unfortunately, RHCs and FQHCs do not bill Medicare under Part B.
This deters center-based providers from serving as the attending physician and deprives the patient of the continuity of care they would otherwise receive from a trusted provider and the comfort that they want and deserve. Sadly, many opt to forgo hospice care as a result.
Thankfully, Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Jackie Warlorski (R-IN) have introduced legislation that would allow RHC and FQHC clinicians to serve as the hospice attending physician and easily receive payment for their services.
Fact Sheet Coming