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Access to Physician Anesthesiologists in Rural Hospitals

Access to Physician Anesthesiologists in Rural Hospitals

A bill making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives would make it easier for rural hospitals to hire physician anesthesiologists. House Bill H.R. 2881, “Medicare Access to Rural Anesthesiology Act of 2017,” seeks to extend the same pass-through program that currently allows Medicare Part A money to be used for hiring certified registered nurse anesthetists to allow the hiring of physician anesthesiologists.

The original provision was accomplished through an amendment to Section 1814 of the Social Security Act through the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Acts of 1986 and 1989. This latest effort would essentially amend the amendment to include reference to a ‘physician who is an anesthesiologist’ or ‘anesthesiologist’ in every place that’s currently limited to ‘certified registered nurse anesthetist’ or ‘anesthetist.’

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is encouraging its members to contact their Congressional Representatives regarding this issue via their ASA Grassroots Network’s Quorum campaign. With a simple log-in, physicians can send emails to all their state’s representatives urging them to cosponsor the bill.

According to a prepared statement, the ASA said this bill would help rural hospitals recruit and retain physician anesthesiologists and ultimately “help provide under-served rural communities with safe, high-quality, physician anesthesia care.”

For more information about H.R. 2881, review the full text and other activity on congress.gov.

To contact your representative about this issue, visit the ASA Grassroots Network’s Quorum campaign.

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a freelance writer and editor who provides communications and marketing services for CIPROMS. She is responsible for creating, editing, and managing all content, design, and interaction on the company website and social media channels in order to promote CIPROMS as a thought leader in healthcare billing and management.

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