“The Rural Hospital and Provider Equity (R-HOPE) Act of 2012” would provide for Telehealth services across state lines. The legislation calls for the Secretary of HHS in consultation with representatives from States, physicians, healthcare practitioners, and patient advocates to encourage the adoption of provisions that would allow multistate practitioners to practice across state lines.
The Act introduced by Representatives Cathy McMorris-Rodger (R-WA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Co-Chairs of the Congressional Rural Health Coalition would help rural communities across America protect and expand access to high quality healthcare.
According to Representative McMorris-Rodgers, “There are 76 million Americans living in rural areas (about 25 percent of the population), but only 10 percent of physicians practice there. In fact, one county in Eastern Washington doesn’t have a single primary care physician.”
The R-HOPE Act of 2012 would:
• Increase payments to rural hospitals which take a disproportionate share of Medicare and Medicaid patients
• Improve payments for lab services in rural hospitals
• Continue geographic reclassification for certain hospitals in sparsely populated states
• Ensure adequate rural representation on MedPAC
• Raise Rural Health Clinic reimbursements to more appropriately cover costs
• Extend several expiring Medicare incentive payments for rural practitioners including physicians practicing in physician scarcity areas, rural ambulance providers, and specific classes of rural hospitals