The AAMC responded to a request for information (RFI) on Oct. 4 issued by Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) titled “Improving Access to Health Care in Rural and Underserved Areas.” The RFI asked responders to detail ways in which the U.S. health care system could be reshaped to increase access to health care in rural and underserved areas.
The AAMC response highlighted key areas for policy change to ensure better patient access to care in rural and underserved areas, including increasing Medicare payment rates, averting Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) cuts, and reforming the PFS to ensure appropriate physician payment going forward. The AAMC also urged the committee to reject proposals to implement so-called site-neutral payment cuts and unnecessary administratively burdensome transparency and reporting measures. The AAMC highlighted the need to expand the physician workforce — and in particular to provide additional Medicare-supported graduate medical education (GME) positions through the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act (H.R. 2389/S. 1302). Finally, the AAMC response provided suggestions to expand the use of telehealth and value-based care.