The AHA today expressed support for the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act (H.R. 5273), bipartisan legislation that the House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to mark up tomorrow. Under Section 603 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, off-campus outpatient facilities operating before Nov. 2, 2015 are “grandfathered” and can continue to be paid at the hospital outpatient department rate, while newer facilities are capped at the lower Physician Fee Schedule rate. H.R. 5273 would move the grandfather date through the end of 2016, or 60 days after enactment, whichever is later. “For those select HOPDs that would qualify, this legislation is a significant relief, and we are supportive of the legislation on their behalf,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. ”Unfortunately, because hospital construction projects take a long time to bring to completion, some HOPDs that were underway on Nov. 2, 2015 will not be completed by Dec. 31, 2016 in order to qualify for the grandfather. We would like to continue to work with the Committee to find additional ways to address this issue.” AHA also voiced support for provisions that would adjust the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program to account for socioeconomic status, and extend the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program for five years.