Press Releases

Luetkemeyer Introduces Bill to Increase Access to Rural Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) introduced legislation to increase access to health care for rural and underserved communities by correcting reimbursement rates for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs).

“Rural Health Clinics play a vital role in providing quality, accessible healthcare in rural communities across America. Missouri is actually home to the highest number of rural health clinics in the country, 26 of which are in the Third District. This bill will ensure clinics here in Missouri and nationwide are able to operate and serve as many communities as possible. As our country continues to recover from the pandemic, it is more important than ever that health care services are available to everyone who needs them, regardless of zip code.”

Congressman Luetkemeyer’s legislation will reduce the cost of care and improve access to medical services for rural Americans by allowing Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) owned by small hospitals, and Critical Access Hospitals that are “mid-build” or “in process” as of March 30, 2021, to be able to apply for grandfathering of their reimbursement rates through a rate setting year following their opening. This legislation will correct a drafting error in the CARES Act that set payment rates for provider based RHCs opened in 2020 lower than Congress intended. Several associations have voiced support for the Congressman’s bill.

The Missouri Rural Health Association says:
“Congressman Luetkemeyer’s bill makes an important and necessary change, allowing rural hospitals that were already in the process of establishing provider-based RHCs to complete their planning and conversions. Missouri’s rural health infrastructure depends on these clinics to provide quality healthcare to our rural constituents and we are grateful for the Congressman’s efforts on this matter.”

The Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins says:
“Ever since my great aunt and uncle founded the rural hospital we still use in Appleton City, our family has known firsthand how important rural healthcare is. It is already extremely difficult for rural providers to stay in business serving our communities. We cannot allow senseless bureaucratic rules to make it any harder on them. We applaud Congressman Luetkemeyer for recognizing a problem caused by the CARES Act and working quickly to fix it. His legislation will ensure that our rural healthcare centers are paid fairly for the critical services they provide, helping them stay strong and continue serving rural communities. I look forward to working with Congressman Luetkemeyer to stop this unfair treatment of rural healthcare providers.”

The Missouri Hospital Association says:
“The Missouri Hospital Association appreciates Congressman Luetkemeyer’s leadership in sponsoring this legislation. It will help small rural hospitals avoid being penalized by changing the federal rules in the middle of a clinic development project.”