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bill would help protect access to outpatient services

June 14, 2013

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Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, on June 12 introduced the “Protecting Access to Rural Therapy Services Act,” – or PARTS Act – (S. 1143), AHA-supported legislation that would allow general supervision by a physician or non-physician practitioner for outpatient therapeutic services.

The bill would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow a default setting of general supervision, rather than direct supervision, for outpatient therapeutic services and establishes an exceptions process, by creating an advisory panel made up of clinicians and hospital administrators, to identify risky and complex outpatient services that should be furnished under direct supervision.

“Small and rural hospitals, where medical workforce shortages are most severe, need reasonable flexibility to appropriately staff their facilities so they can continue to provide a full range of services to their communities,” Moran said in a statement. “The PARTS Act is a commonsense solution that would preserve patient safety and ease unreasonable regulations on hospitals.” AHA sent Moran a letter of support for the legislation, which is available at: http://tinyurl.com/kats4ra.

The legislation also would create a special rule for critical access hospitals (CAHs) that recognizes their unique size and Medicare conditions of participation; and would hold hospitals and CAHs harmless from civil or criminal action for failing to meet the “direct supervision” requirements applied to services furnished since 2001.

Sens. Jon Tester, D-MT and John Thune, R-SD, are original
cosponsors of the bill.

Meanwhile, the AHA continues to urge hospitals (see editorial on page 4) to weigh-in with CMS’ Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment (HOP Panel) on the agency’s supervision policy for outpatient therapeutic services.

The HOP Panel, which advises CMS on the appropriate level of supervision for individual hospital outpatient therapeutic services, will meet Aug. 26-27.

It may be the last opportunity to have outpatient therapeutic services designated as general supervision services before CMS begins enforcing the agency’s direct supervision requirements on Jan. 1.

AHA members received a
Regulatory Alert on June 5 with more details on the meeting.

The alert is available at:
http://tinyurl.com/k22vwub.