Rural Access to Hospice Act

The bi-cameral, bi-partisan Rural Access to Hospice Act (S. 1190/H.R. 2594) was reintroduced by Senator Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI), and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN). 

Currently there is a Medicare Part B statutory barrier which restricts access to hospice in rural communities across the country. When a Medicare beneficiary becomes eligible for hospice, they select a physician or nurse practitioner to serve as their attending physician. Unlike other services, rural health clinics (RHCs) and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) cannot bill Medicare under Part B for hospice services, which prevents some patients from receiving care from their trusted primary care practitioner. We must fix this access issue. 

Hospice providers across the country agree that the special relationship a patient has with their primary care physician should be carried through their end-of-life care, not severed due to a statutory glitch. Access to hospice should never have a geographic barrier.

A score by the Congressional Budget Office should be available in the coming weeks and if passed, enacted on January 1, 2020.