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CMS’ new rules hurt rural hospitals and providers; NRHA fights back

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rules for 2014 for the outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) and the physician fee schedule (PFS) last week. Among other modifications to the OPPS, CMS announced its final determination to end the current enforcement moratorium for small, rural hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) in regard to compliance with “direct supervision” requirements for outpatient therapy services. NRHA has long urged CMS to maintain this enforcement moratorium and return supervision requirements to a “general” level. We will continue to push Congress to intervene and set location-appropriate levels of supervision for all rural hospitals. Learn more, and join NRHA’s efforts to get Congress to correct this during NRHA’s 25th annual Rural Health Policy Institute Feb. 4-6 in D.C. Register today to save $100. As part of the physician fee schedule update, CMS indicated the method and manner in which they plan to enforce the Medicare sustainable growth rate and geographic practice cost index cuts that will take effect in January if Congress does not intervene. CMS also outlined how therapy caps will be applied to CAHs and modified its definition of “rural” for purposes of telehealth reimbursement. The OPPS final rule is available here, and the PFS rule is available here. Email NRHA’s government affairs experts with questions.

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