Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley is introducing a bill today that he says will cut rural health care costs. Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, is cosponsoring the “Rural Health Care Fairness Act” with Congressman Aaron Schock, a Republican from Illinois.
Braley says the bill would allow rural health care clinics to qualify for federal incentives as they transition to electronic medical records. He says electronic medical records will help rural health clinics improve patient care, cut costs and prevent medical errors.
The Medicare Electronic Records Incentive Program already provides payments of up to $44,000 to eligible hospitals that upgrade to electronic health records technology. Braley says his bill would expand that program.
“There are 142 Medicare rural health clinics currently in Iowa. They are not eligible to receive the electronic health records incentives. Our bipartisan bill changes that and allows rural health clinics to qualify for the electronic records incentive program,” Braley said.
Braley, who has announced he is running for the U.S. Senate, told reporters the legislation is budget-neutral, since it simply expands eligibility for the existing Medicare grant program and doesn’t expand the size of the program itself.