Feenstra-Led Bills, One to Keep Rural Hospitals Open, Passes House Committee

Two bills led by 4th District Congressman Randy Feenstra designed to keep rural hospitals operational and preserve access to over-the-phone telehealth services passed the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

The Rural Hospital Stabilization Act would authorize the Rural Hospital Stabilization Pilot Program through 2029. It would allow struggling hospitals, especially those in rural areas, to improve financial stability and allow them to retain healthcare services, and increase service capacity. The legislation would prioritize rural hospitals, those with smaller patient capacity, and those most at risk of closure. The bill would also ensure these funds may be utilized for renovations, training, hiring, compensation, and equipment purchases.

The Audio-Only Telehealth Access Act would make Medicare’s coverage of audio-only telehealth services permanent. The current Medicare waiver, which is set to expire on December 31st of this year, allows CMS to reimburse providers for patient evaluation, patient management, and behavioral health services over the phone.


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