This April, Senator Shelley Moore Capito reintroduced the Rural Access to Hospice Act S.1190, which will allow Rural Health Clinics (RHC) and Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) to receive payments for serving hospice patients. This bill is vitally important to West Virginia as many patients with serious illness receive their primary care from RHCs and FQHCs.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito with Hospice Volunteer Directors, Tricia Lawrence and Melanie Allen

Hospice care utilization is growing across the nation, but hospice is less likely to be accessed when patients live in rural areas. One of the barriers to access is the statutory barrier which denies payment to rural physicians working in RHCs and FQHCs. The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services states that when rural patients learn that their primary care physician cannot serve as their physician, they often choose not to enroll in hospice.

The Rural Access to Hospice Act will remove this barrier to access. From September 9-13 the National Hospice and Palliative Organization are hosting a “Virtual Hill Week” to highlight the importance of this legislation as well as several others. It is important for WV voices to be heard to support this legislation.

To find out more about NHPCO’s legislative agenda, visit the Hospice Action Network’s resource page:

Categories: advocacy