As a hospice advocate, I find it troubling that patients at rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers must leave their trusted RHC/FQHC physician when they transition to hospice.
Because of a billing issue, these vulnerable patients are forced to seek a different physician, sometimes having to travel miles and hours to find an office accepting new patients and willing to accompany them to hospice.
Most RHC/FQHC physicians would prefer to remain with their patients, but are prevented from doing so by a quirk in the law. Thankfully, legislators in Washington have taken up this issue and introduced the Rural Access to Hospice Act, which would fix the billing issue and allow patients at RHCs and FQHCs to keep their physicians.
The bill is bipartisan, bicameral, has technical assistance from CMS, and has a low CBO score. It is ripe and ready to move this year.
I call on all our members of Congress to cosponsor the Rural Access to Hospice Act and ensure that all Americans are able to access quality hospice care with the physician of their choice.
Nancy Greschel, RN, MSN