Schock Bill Offers Solution to Keep Rural Health Cost Affordable
Without Action, Seniors Could Face Higher Healthcare Costs
Mar 8 -
This week, Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) introduced the bipartisan Rural Health Clinic Fairness Act, H.R. 986. Legislation that would help keep rural healthcare affordable and allow seniors to continue to receive high quality care from Rural Health Clinics (RHC). The legislation closes a loophole that prevents RHC’s from being eligible for Electronic Health Record (EHR) incentive payments through the Medicare program. This eligibility is already given to larger hospitals and physicians throughout Illinois and rest of the country. This discrepancy in the system means RHC’s could be penalized by having to absorb more of the costs when treating Medicare patients in rural areas.
“Rural health clinics are a tremendous asset to our communities in Illinois. The 18th district alone is home to 29 RHC’s, which means thousands of seniors - in my district alone - are at risk of seeing their healthcare costs rise if action is not taken soon to close this loophole,” said Schock. “This legislation fixes a flaw in the system and places RHC’s on a level playing field within our health care system and ensures rural health clinics continue to offer affordable and high quality medical services for seniors.”
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) are the entity charged with the development of EHR user criteria. RHC’s were created to address physician understaffing in rural areas and improve access to primary care services. They use a team-based approach of physicians and midlevel medical providers, such as Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants, to provide a variety of health care services in rural communities throughout Illinois.
Rural Health Clinics Located in the 18th District
- East Adams County Rural Health, Golden, IL
- Quincy Medial Group, Quincy, IL
- SIU Quincy Family Practice Center, Quincy, IL
- Mt. Sterling Rural Health Clinic, Mt. Sterling, IL
- Beardstown Clinic I, Beardstown, IL
- Beardstown Clinic II, Beardstown, IL
- Bowen Family Practice, Bowen, IL
- Hamilton-Warsaw Clinic, Warsaw, IL
- Regional Family Health Center, Galva, IL
- Lincoln Family Care Specialist, Lincoln, IL
- Lincoln Rural Health Clinic, Lincoln, IL
- MMC, Lacon, IL
- Havana Medical Associates, Havana, IL
- Mason City Medical Associates, Mason City, IL
- Bushnell Family Practice, Bushnell, IL
- OSF medical Group-Chenoa, Chenoa, IL
- MMG, Chillicothe, IL
- Springfield Clinic, Jacksonville Rural Health, Jacksonville, IL
- Illini Community Hospital Rural Health Clinic, Pittsfield, IL
- Pittsfield Rural Health Affiliate, Pittsfield, IL
- Quincy Medical Group, Pleasant Hill, IL
- Quincy Medical Group, Pittsfield, IL
- Quincy Medical Group, Barry Rural Health Affiliate, Barry, IL
- Physicians Group Associates, New Berlin, IL
- Springfield Clinic Taylorville, Springfield, IL
- HSHS Medical Group, Family Medicine, Rushville, IL
- Quincy Medical Group, Winchester, IL
- MMG at Princeville, IL
- Regional Family Health Center, Wyoming, IL
According to the National Rural Health Day website, one in five Americans, or nearly 62 million people, live and work in rural communities across the country. Rural Americans reside in 80 percent of the total U.S. land area, but only comprise 20 percent of the U.S. population.
The website further cites that these rural communities also have unique healthcare needs. Today more than ever, rural communities must address accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens. And rural hospitals – which are often the economic foundation of their communities in addition to being the primary providers of care – struggle daily as declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels make it challenging to serve their residents.
Congressman Schock introduced identical legislation in 2011 during the 112th Congress.