Arrington introduces legislation to support rural health care providers

WASHINGTON –  Today, Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-1) introduced H.R. 5212 the Accountable Care In Rural America Act,  which would improve  the performance standards for health care providers who participate in Medicare’s  Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which are part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program.  ACOs encourage hospitals, physicians, and other providers to work together to lower costs and improve the quality of health care for patients. The rural glitch is a flaw in the program that forces all ACOs to measure their performance against themselves and disproportionately impacts rural providers, discouraging providers from participating.  

“I am proud to introduce legislation that will change the incentives of our health care system to reward quality over quantity while reducing the cost to taxpayers over time,”  said Arrington.

“I am confident that this bill will empower rural health care providers, reduce costs to both patients and taxpayers, and strengthen the health and well-being of our families living in America’s breadbasket and energy basin.”

“Medicare’s ACO program has shown significant promise to lower health care spending while improving the quality of care for seniors and we need to be looking at policies that encourage participation,”  said Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-1).  “Fixing the rural glitch is a practical and meaningful change that will make the program fairer, especially for rural providers who can be disproportionately impacted by the current benchmark methodology. This change will also make it fairer for providers who are already delivering efficient care like those in Washington state. I believe fixing the rural glitch will encourage more providers to participate in the ACO program which will be a benefit to seniors and taxpayers alike.”

Representatives Roger Marshall (KS-1) and Ami Bera (CA-7) are original cosponsors of the Accountable Care In Rural America Act.

“As a practicing physician, I served rural communities for more than 25 years. Despite greater distance, it’s important that our rural providers work with one another to deliver their patients the quality and continuity of care that will ensure positive outcomes and reduce costs,”  said Rep. Marshall (KS-1).  “The Accountable Care In Rural America Act not only rewards providers who work with Accountable Care Organizations but saves taxpayers millions in Medicare expenditures. Changes like this will help ensure our rural providers have the resources necessary to continue delivering the best care possible, no matter their location.”

“This bill is critical for regions like Northern California—regions that are already ahead of the curve in terms of providing quality and efficient health care,”  said Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. (CA-7).  “This legislation rewards Sacramento health care providers for continuing to find ways to improve the health of my constituents, instead of the current policies that put them at a disadvantage because the region has been innovative in the past.”

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