The AHA March 10 expressed support for legislation, S. 629, that would allow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to align its requirements for Medicare pass-through support payments with the latest accreditation standards for hospital-based nursing education programs. The Higher Learning Commission, the largest accrediting body for higher education, recently updated its standards to require hospital-based programs to become separately incorporated to retain accreditation. However, CMS requires hospital-based nursing education programs to be part of a hospital to receive Medicare “pass-through” support payments and has indicated it lacks authority to update the policy under current law. “As a result, Medicare ‘pass-through’ support payments to hospital-based nurse education programs are threatened,” AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in a letter of support for the Making the Education of Nurses Dependable for Schools Act (MEND), introduced last week by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo. “Your legislation, which is budget neutral, would help ensure the viability of hospital-based nursing programs and a steady supply of nurses by authorizing CMS to update their regulations to comport with HLC’s new and modernized requirements.”