Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Society of Anesthesiologists® (ASA) applauds Friday’s introduction of the bipartisan Medicare Access to Rural Anesthesiology Act by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS-05) and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO-01). Many rural areas of the country face challenges in recruiting and retaining physicians to serve rural patients. This legislation, which is the companion to S. 1444 by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), reforms Medicare’s rural incentive payment for all types of anesthesia providers and extends rural hospitals’ access to physician anesthesiologists. Under this legislation, rural hospitals would expand access to physician anesthesiologist services and be able to more readily recruit and retain physician anesthesiologists who may want to serve their rural communities, providing greater access to physician care. “ASA has been at the forefront of efforts to increase access to high-quality, physician-led care and is proud to endorse this legislation,” said ASA President Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D. “This bill ensures adequate access to health care, particularly surgery, in rural areas by providing fair access to the rural incentive payment for all types of anesthesia providers. We join in thanking Rep. Jenkins and Rep. Cleaver for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to continuing to work with them so that this bill can quickly advance in Congress.” “Access to quality health care in rural communities continues to be one of my top priorities,” said Congresswoman Jenkins. “Congress must ensure our rural hospitals are able to sustain a health care system that provides folks the care they require, and we need cost-effective solutions to incentivize physicians to practice in these areas. I am pleased to introduce bipartisan legislation to provide greater access to anesthesiology professionals for our rural hospitals and help to improve the shortage of access to anesthesiology medical care in rural communities.” “Ensuring that our rural population has increased access to health care is critical to maintaining a vibrant community,” stated Congressman Cleaver. “I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan bill that will give qualified rural hospitals the resources to attract and retain physician anesthesiologists for rural patients. By addressing the shortage of medical services in rural settings, this bill will expand access of care for underserved areas.” THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 52,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring that physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during, and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care that every patient deserves. For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the ASA online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount.