Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Adrian Smith (R-NE) late yesterday introduced the AHA-supported Rural Hospital Regulatory Relief Act (H.R. 5164), which would permanently extend the enforcement moratorium on “direct supervision” of outpatient therapeutic services for critical access hospitals and small, rural hospitals with 100 or fewer beds. Under Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ regulations, hospitals must perform most outpatient therapeutic services under the ‘direct supervision’ of a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner, which can be challenging for small, rural hospitals due to a shortage of health professionals and the associated cost. H.R. 5164 would adopt a default standard of “general supervision” for these hospitals. In a letter of support to the sponsors, AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels said the bill “would provide immediate regulatory relief to small, rural hospitals and ensure these communities will continue to have access to outpatient therapeutic services.” The AHA continues to work toward passage of the Protecting Access to Rural Therapy Services (PARTS) Act (S. 257/H.R. 1611), which would provide additional regulatory relief related to this issue.