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    October 5, 2023 
     

    The Honorable Jason Smith The Honorable Richard Neal
    Chairman Ranking Member
    House Committee on Ways and Means House Committee on Ways and Means
    1139 Longworth House Office Building 1129 Longworth House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515

     

    Re: Request for Information – Improving Access to Health Care in Rural and Underserved Areas

    Dear Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Neal:

    On behalf of our member medical group practices, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) would like to thank the Committee for the opportunity to provide feedback on improving access to healthcare in rural and underserved areas. We appreciate the Committee examining the multifaceted issues facing medical groups in these regions. Patient access to care is paramount, and we hope our response today will assist the Committee in addressing the current challenges facing practices in rural and underserved areas.

    With a membership of more than 60,000 medical practice administrators, executives, and leaders, MGMA represents more than 15,000 group medical practices ranging from small private medical practices to large national health systems representing more than 350,000 physicians. MGMA’s diverse membership uniquely situates us to offer the following policy recommendations.

    Rural practices face myriad challenges in maintaining their ability to operate and provide high-quality care. Approximately 60% of the 7,200 federal designated health professional shortage areas occur in rural areas. Fifteen percent of all Americans live in rural areas, and patients in these areas generally tend to be older and sicker than patients in urban centers. The reality of operating a rural practice, coupled with inflation, staffing shortages, and Medicare physician payment cuts, coalesce to make it difficult for these practices to thrive. Federal policy should support and promote the success of these vital medical groups.

     

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