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Rep. Ron Kind Introduces Legislation to Increase Medicare Reimbursement for Rural Wisconsin Health Care Providers

June 18, 2019
Press Release
Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act of 2019 would improve flawed Medicare reimbursement formulas that harm rural health care providers

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind introduced the bipartisan Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act of 2019, which would adjust the geographic practice cost index (GPCI) to accurately reflect the cost of labor and practices expenses in rural areas. The current GPCI formula underestimates labor and practice costs in rural areas and results in lower Medicare payments to rural physicians compared to their urban counterparts.

“Rural communities have unique needs when it comes to health care. Physicians and health systems in rural Wisconsin provide high-quality care, but the flawed Medicare reimbursement formula is harming Wisconsin providers and putting pressure on rural health systems. I’m proud to work on this bipartisan bill to fix the GPCI formula and give rural communities a fair shake when it comes to Medicare reimbursement.” said Rep. Ron Kind.

“The Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act of 2019 is an important recognition that the current reimbursement system for rural health care providers is broken,” said Susan Turney, M.D., CEO of Marshfield Clinic Health System. “The current methodology to calculate the wage “GPCI” does not actually reflect the cost of providing care, especially in rural communities. This results in lower reimbursement rates that make it harder for us to compete nationally in terms of recruiting and retaining physicians dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to the communities we serve. I look forward to working with Rep. Kind, Rep. Finkenauer and the other co-sponsors on advancing this and other common sense solutions that help create a more level playing field when it comes to physician reimbursement rates.”

“The Wisconsin Medical Society supports the introduction of the Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act of 2019. Wisconsin’s physicians provide some of the highest-quality care in the nation and this bill addresses longstanding geographic disparities in Medicare payment, significantly impacting rural areas. The Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act will improve Wisconsin’s ability to compete for and retain top-level physicians, increase access and improve care. The Society thanks Rep. Finkenauer and Rep. Kind for introducing this much-needed legislation,” said George Morris, M.D., President, Wisconsin Medical Society.

Rep. Kind is the co-chair of the Rural Health Care Caucus and a member of the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health, which oversees the Medicare program.

The Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act of 2019 was introduced by Rep. Kind along with Reps. Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Adrian Smith (NE-03), and Darin LaHood (IL-18). The text of the Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act of 2019 can be seen here.