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Rep. Ron Kind Introduces Bipartisan Legislative Fix to Protect Rural Communities’ Access to Care

March 12, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Ron Kind introduced the bipartisan Rural and Underserved Small Hospital (RUSH) Protection Act. This legislation will update the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act to help ensure Rural Health Clinics across the state have the resources they need to provide access to care for patients in rural and underserved communities.    

“It’s critical to ensure that all Wisconsinites have access to high-quality care regardless of where they live,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to support our Rural Health Clinics and make sure those established during 2020 don’t experience unforeseen financial penalties. We must continue to support our outstanding rural health care providers and protect access to care for rural communities across Wisconsin.”  

“The RUSH Protection Act provides much needed clarity after the changes made to the Rural Health Clinic reimbursement rules in last year’s bill.  Rep. Kind’s leadership will ensure that clinics established throughout Wisconsin during 2020 will not be unfairly penalized, and most importantly protects clinics that were in the middle of the application process from being shut out of this vital program.  The Rural Health Clinic program is an important tool in ensuring patients and communities have access to high-quality healthcare close to home. Rep. Kind has always been a champion for rural healthcare, and this is another instance of him doing what is right for the patients and communities across the state,” said Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of Marshfield Clinic Health System.   

Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) play a vital role in providing access to care for rural communities across Wisconsin and have been on the frontlines of combatting COVID-19 in our rural regions. Unfortunately, due to a drafting error in the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, many RHCs affiliated with critical access hospitals that opened in 2020 are facing significant Medicare payment cuts. The RUSH Protection Act will correct this mistake and help ensure RHCs can continue their critical work of providing care for patients in our rural communities.   

Rep. Kind is the co-chair of the House Rural Health Care Coalition and serves on the Subcommittee on Health for the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful – and the oldest – committee in the House of Representatives. It has jurisdiction over tax measures, the management of public debt, trade and tariff laws, Social Security, Medicare, pensions, and many other economic growth measures.