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April 23, 2008

Inhofe Joins Effort to Enhance Rural Health Care

Urges Senate to Improve Technology, Reimbursements for Health Care Providers, Ensure Rural Interests are Represented

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As a member of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined fellow caucus members this week in urging the Senate to pass legislation that will ensure that rural areas receive better health care services, improve the medical technology uniquely suited for rural health care delivery and ensure that rural areas are fairly represented on the board that oversees Medicare reimbursements.
            A co-sponsor of legislation known as the Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity (S. 1605), Inhofe signed a joint letter from the caucus to the Senate Finance Committee leadership illustrating the benefits the act will have in rural areas and the ways it will make rural health care more equitable with its urban counterpart.
            “Rural America faces unique challenges in the area of health care, and this bill will go a long way to make that care both more accessible and efficient,” Inhofe said.
            Among other things, the legislation helps bring greater economies of scale to rural health care providers and provides incentives for rural home health care and telehealth technology.
            It also calls for Congress to see that rural areas are fairly represented on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the body that determines Medicare reimbursement policies.  Currently, more than 26% of Medicare patients live in rural areas, but less than 6% of the commission comes from these areas.

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