The House and Senate today approved legislation funding federal programs through fiscal year 2016. The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it. Among other health care provisions, the bill increases the base Medicare payment rate for Puerto Rico hospitals to the rate for hospitals in other states, and allows Puerto Rico hospitals to qualify for Medicare incentive payments for the adoption and meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology. The legislation also increases funding from FY 2015 levels by $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health; $300 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; $30 million for Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education; $4.5 million for rural health outreach grants; and $2.1 million for rural telehealth. In addition, the bill would increase funding for NURSE Corps loan repayment and scholarship programs by $1.35 million and advanced nursing education by $1 million. With respect to cybersecurity, the bill would establish mechanisms and liability protections for sharing threat information, and require the Health and Human Services secretary to report on and create a task force to improve cybersecurity in the health care field. The bill does not contain corrections to the Bipartisan Budget Act signed into law Nov. 2 to allow off-campus provider-based hospital outpatient departments already under development to qualify as grandfathered facilities. For more information, see the AHA’s recent Special Bulletin for members. Before adjourning for the year, the House and Senate also approved a blanket hardship exemption from meaningful use penalties for providers that fail to meet meaningful use in 2015, which would generally be assessed in 2017. Physicians will have until March 15, 2016 to apply for the exemptions and hospitals until April 1, 2016.