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Updated: Amendments 18, 82, 117, 118 and 121 pass the Senate Finance Committee

The Senate Finance Committee is currently voting on important rural amendments to the SGR Repeal and Medicare Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2013. Amendments 117 and 121 were adopted in the Chairman’s Mark at the beginning of the hearing and, therefore, did not require a vote. Amendment 117 (Thune/Bennet/Enzi/Roberts 1): This amendment would return supervision requirements for outpatient therapy services furnished at Critical Access Hospitals back to “general supervision.” This was the supervision level observed at nearly every CAH prior to 2009. Amendment 121 (Thune/Wyden/Roberts/Rockefeller/Enzi/Stabenow 5): This amendment would ensure that the new Alternative Payment Models do not interfere with or inhibit the development of telehealth technologies that are critical to the future of delivering care in rural America. Additionally, the following amendments passed with unanimous voice vote: Amendment 18 (Schumer/Grassley 1): This amendment would permanently extend, at current levels two crucial rural hospital payments, the Medicare Dependent Hospital program and Low Volume Hospital Adjustment. Amendment 82 (Grassley 13): This amendment would set a permanent floor on the work component of the Geographic Practice Cost Index (GPCI) at its current level of 1.0 creating a stable and more equitable reimbursement rate for rural physicians. Amendment 118 (Thune/Casey/Enzi Amendment 2): This amendment would establish demonstration project for telehealth remote patient monitoring services. This demonstration would help show the efficacy remote patient monitoring in keeping patients in their homes rather than in hospitals. The National Rural Health Association is pleased that the Senate Finance Committee passed the above amendments in the Mark. This is a victory for rural health and NRHA thanks all of our members for their dedicated grassroots efforts. Register today to join NRHA’s efforts to protect the rural health care safety net programs during NRHA’s 25th annual Rural Health Policy Institute Feb. 4-6 in D.C.

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