PCC Sends Recommendations on Strengthening Primary Care for Rural & Underserved Communities to House Ways & Means Leaders

With a December 14 letter, the Primary Care Collaborative (PCC) is applauding House Ways and Means Committee leaders for their efforts to date to develop solutions for healthcare access in rural and underserved locales and offering its own recommendations to strengthen primary care for all communities.

Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, has identified rural health as a priority for the Committee. Earlier this Fall, the Committee reached out to healthcare stakeholders with a request for information (RFI) on bold solutions to improve healthcare access issues for those in rural and underserved communities.

PCC’s recommendations to Chairman Smith and Ranking Member, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) include the following:

  • Invest in primary care by supporting CMS’ work to develop a hybrid payment option in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), and pay adequately for inherently complex care (G2211 code)
  • Integrate mental health and addiction services by expanding Primary Care-Behavioral Health Integration (BHI), improving Medicare’s Health Professional Shortage Area Bonus program, removing barriers to BHI in Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics, supporting telemental health and tele-prescribing services
  • Address misaligned Medicare policies that impact beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid (duals) by establishing continuity of coverage protection for duals, expanding access to the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), address the serious coverage and reimbursement barriers (“lesser-of payment policies”) for duals

While PCC applauds the Committee’s first steps to explore access for rural and underserved communities, we encourage them to take the bold action necessary to enact these improvements in the New Year.

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