Peterson and Tipton introduce legislation to strengthen rural health workforce

Apr 13, 2018 Issues: Economy and Jobs, Health

This week, Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Scott Tipton (R-CO) introduced the bipartisan Rural Hospital Frontier Fairness Act to provide Sole Community Hospitals with increased funding for workforce development. The legislation will also expand a crucial safety-net program to help rural facilities secure affordable medications for patients.

Under current law, Sole Community Hospitals in “Frontier States” benefit from the “Floor on Area Wage Index for Hospitals in Frontier States” to offer higher wages to employees. While this provision has been effective in strengthening the rural health workforce in Frontier States, it has placed nearby facilities in non-Frontier States at a significant disadvantage when competing for employees in the same geographic area.

The Rural Hospital Frontier Fairness Act addresses this problem by applying the Floor on Area Wage Index for Hospitals to any Sole Community Hospital located within 75 miles of a Frontier State’s border. In addition, the legislation will qualify the same facilities for automatic participation in the 340b Drug Pricing Program.

“This legislation will help maintain the continuum of care in rural communities across the country,” said Peterson. “It will also allow rural facilities to direct resources at patients rather than overpriced medications.”

“One of the greatest challenges families in rural Colorado face is a lack of access to health care providers,” said Tipton. “The Rural Hospital Frontier Fairness Act will help rural hospitals attract and retain healthcare providers, improving access to quality health care as well as improve access to affordable medications.”