Friday, November 21, 2014

Congress Passes Moran-Jenkins Rural Health Legislation

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Tonight, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 4067 to delay Medicare’s enforcement of unreasonable and inflexible direct supervision rules for outpatient therapy services at all hospitals including Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs).

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) introduced the original version of this bill, S. 1954, and it passed the Senate on Feb. 10, 2014. Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) introduced an identical version of the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives and it passed the House on Sept. 9, 2014.

“Imposing an unrealistic and clinically unnecessary supervision policy jeopardizes patients’ access to important services in communities in Kansas and across the country,” Sen. Moran said. “This one-year delay is needed because many Kansas hospitals are considering cutting services for their patients or limiting hours of operation in order to comply with this inflexible regulation. I urge the President to sign this bill, and I will continue to advance legislation requiring the federal government to implement a reasonable policy that more reflects the realities of providing care in rural areas. Thanks to Congresswoman Jenkins for her extraordinary efforts on this legislation in the House of Representatives.”

“This is a testament to Congress for recognizing that these supervision requirements are unnecessary and could jeopardize access to healthcare in our rural communities where medical service shortages are already severe,” Congresswoman Jenkins said. “Critical Access Hospitals are the lifeblood of our rural communities and it is my hope the President quickly signs this bill into law to give our communities more certainty and ensure patients receive timely and quality healthcare. I thank my colleagues for supporting this legislation and I want to especially thank Senator Moran for his hard work and leadership on the companion legislation in the Senate.”

This legislation is supported by the American Hospital Association, the Kansas Hospital Association and the National Rural Health Association.

In June 2013, Sen. Moran introduced S. 1143, the Protecting Access to Rural Therapy Services (PARTS) Act, to address this therapy supervision issue on a permanent basis.