Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT) today introduced a Senate companion to the Critical Access Hospital Relief Act (S. 258/H.R. 169), AHA-supported legislation that would remove the 96-hour physician certification requirement as a condition of payment for critical access hospitals. Medicare currently requires physicians to certify that patients admitted to a CAH will be discharged or transferred to another hospital within 96 hours in order for the CAH to receive payment under Medicare Part A. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has not historically enforced the requirement, but in recent guidance related to its two-midnight admissions policy implied that it will, a situation that would threaten patients’ access to longer care when needed. The legislation would not remove the requirement that CAHs maintain an average annual length of stay of 96 hours, nor affect other certification requirements for hospitals. Original co-sponsors include Sens. Dan Coats (R-IN), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), Thad Cochran (R-MS), John Thune (R-SD), Steve Daines (R-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

 

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