A Nebraska Congressman says federal rules don’t just hurt the bottom line of rural hospitals, they interfere with patient care.
Congressman Adrian Smith proposes changes for two federal rules.
One requires a doctor be on hand, even for routine medical decisions; a burden on rural hospitals which Smith says should be able to rely on other trained medical professionals on hand.
“We need to stand behind that training and entrust our providers to make good, professional decisions in the best interest of the patient without the federal government getting in the way,” Smith tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The other rule targeted by Smith requires hospitals guarantee a patient-stay not exceed 96 hours for the hospital to receive reimbursement from Medicaid or Medicare.
Smith would lift the rule for Critical Access Hospitals.
Smith’s legislation got a boost when the Brown County Hospital CEO Shannon Sorensen told Ways and Means Committee members the rules added undue burdens for her hospital in Ainsworth.
Sorensen testified at a committee public hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
Sorensen told committee members Brown County has only one physician and requiring him to be at the hospital for routine procedures is unrealistic; often causing her hospital to postpone medical care. A strict interpretation of the 96-hour rule will cost Brown County Hospital Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, vital to the hospital’s bottom line, according to Sorensen.
Congressman Smith sponsors H.R. 169, the Critical Access Hospital Relief Act, removing the 96-hour precertification requirement for patients at Critical Access Hospitals. He also sponsors H.R. 170, the Rural Health Care Provider Relief Act, which would delay the physician supervision requirement for a year until its impact can be studied.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]