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Rural Healthcare Advocates Rip MedPAC's Claims on Access, Reimbursement

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 27, 2012

Advocates for rural healthcare providers are objecting to a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission report this month that says that access to rural healthcare services is "similar" to access in urban areas and that reimbursement for that care is "adequate."

"MedPAC's report simply doesn't match reality," Lance Keilers, CEO of Ballinger (TX) Hospital and 2012 National Rural Healthcare Association president, said in a media release. "This report lacks validity. It's not what I see every day in rural America."

Maggie Elehwany, NRHA's government affairs and policy vice president, says the MedPAC report to Congress waves two red flags in the faces of rural providers.

"The first is the assertion that access to care really is no longer a crisis in rural America. MedPAC for the first time ever made that inference and we take strong objection to that," Elehwany tells HealthLeaders Media. "In the rural counties in this country 77% are considered health professional shortage areas. For much of America just making their way to a physician still remains a challenge."

Elehwany says MedPAC contradicts itself on its claims of access.

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