Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell this week introduced legislation to delay enforcement of federal rules requiring “direct” supervision of therapeutic services provided in hospital outpatient departments through the end of 2016. Cantwell staff say they hope to move the bill through the Senate before the July recess. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) cosponsored the bill; similar legislation is pending in the House of Representatives.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services imposed the direct supervision rules in 2010; however, following criticism by critical access hospitals, the agency suspended enforcement for CAHs through 2013. Congress passed legislation in 2014 and 2015 continuing the enforcement moratorium for CAHs and small rural PPS hospitals until January 1, 2016. Legislation is being drafted that would make the enforcement moratorium permanent. Legislation also has been introduced that would permanently set the supervision standard at “general” for therapeutic services. (John Flink, WSHA federal lobbyist)