Bill Would Amend Medicare Payment Inequities Among California Counties Classified as Rural

Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) recently introduced legislation that would address Medicare payment inequities among some California counties by changing the system CMS uses to determine reimbursement rates.

Under current rules, California counties designated as “rural” can receive payments up to 25% lower than reimbursements for providers in neighboring urban counties.

Some providers have stopped accepting new Medicare patients because of the lower rates.

A California Healthline Special Report by Deirdre Kennedy includes comments from:

  • Larry deGhetaldi, president of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Santa Cruz Division;
  • Elizabeth McNeil, the California Medical Association’s vice president for government relations; and
  • Tom Mentzer, Farr’s press secretary.

Experts say modifications to the Medicare payment structure could have implications for other counties nationwide. In addition, incorporating Farr’s bill into larger national health care reform efforts could affect a possible public plan option (Kennedy, California Healthline, 6/30).

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