Text: S.1648 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (06/23/2015)

 
[Congressional Bills 114th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 1648 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

114th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1648

To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to create a sustainable 
                      future for rural healthcare.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             June 23, 2015

  Mr. Grassley (for himself and Mr. Gardner) introduced the following 
  bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to create a sustainable 
                      future for rural healthcare.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Rural Emergency Acute Care Hospital 
Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) According to the University of North Carolina's Center 
        for Health Services Research, 55 rural hospitals have closed in 
        the Unites States since January 2010.
            (2) In 2014, iVantage conducted a study for the National 
        Rural Health Association and found 283 hospitals at risk of 
        closure based upon performance indicators that matched those 
        facilities already forced to close in this decade.
            (3) Researchers at the University of North Carolina 
        identified inpatient volume as a substantial contributing 
        factor to the financial performance of rural hospitals, with 
        many of the at-risk hospitals having an average daily bed 
        census of less than 2.
            (4) Adverse impacts to the local economy and the loss of 
        timely access to emergency medical care are 2 major effects of 
        rural hospital closures.
            (5) According to the National Center for Rural Health 
        Works, the typical rural hospital creates over 140 jobs and 
        generates $6,800,000 in compensation while serving an average 
        population of 14,600.
            (6) The 2014 iVantage study estimates that the 283 at-risk 
        hospitals could result in the loss of 36,000 health care jobs, 
        50,000 community jobs, and $10,600,000,000 in gross domestic 
        product.
            (7) Time is the most critical factor for achieving 
        successful outcomes in emergency medicine, and emergency 
        medical clinicians refer to the time-sensitive period during 
        which successful outcomes may be best achieved as the ``golden 
        hour''.
            (8) The National Conference of State Legislatures states 
        that 60 percent of trauma deaths in the United States occur in 
        rural areas, where only 15 percent of the population is 
        represented.
            (9) The disproportionate percentage of trauma deaths in 
        rural areas is likely attributable in large part to a 
        combination of response time to the scene and distance to the 
        nearest emergency room to stabilize trauma victims.
            (10) The percentage of trauma deaths occurring in rural 
        areas could continue to increase as more rural hospitals close, 
        further limiting access to emergency services and requiring 
        patients to travel longer distances to receive emergency 
        medical care.
            (11) The creation of a rural emergency hospital designation 
        under the Medicare program will allow facilities in rural areas 
        to provide emergency medical services without having to 
        maintain inpatient beds.
            (12) In addition to providing emergency care, rural 
        emergency hospitals could convert the space previously used for 
        inpatient services to provide other medical services including, 
        but not limited to, observation care, skilled nursing facility 
        care, infusion services, hemodialysis, home health, hospice, 
        nursing home care, population health, and telemedicine 
        services.

SEC. 3. RURAL EMERGENCY HOSPITAL PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--
            (1) Rural emergency hospital and services defined.--Section 
        1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x) is amended--
                    (A) in subsection (e), in the last sentence of the 
                matter following paragraph (9), by inserting ``or a 
                rural emergency hospital (as defined in section 
                1861(iii)(1))'' before the period at the end; and
                    (B) by adding at the end the following subsection:

    ``Rural Emergency Hospital; Rural Emergency Hospital Outpatient 
                                Services

    ``(iii)(1) The term `rural emergency hospital' means a facility 
that--
            ``(A)(i) as of December 31, 2014--
                            ``(I) was a critical access hospital; or
                            ``(II) was a hospital with not more than 50 
                        beds located in a county (or equivalent unit of 
                        local government) in a rural area (as defined 
                        in section 1886(d)(2)(D)), or was a hospital 
                        with not more than 50 beds that was treated as 
                        being located in a rural area pursuant to 
                        section 1886(d)(8)(E); or
                    ``(ii) was a critical access hospital described in 
                clause (i)(I) or a hospital described in clause (i)(II) 
                that ceased operations during the period beginning on 
                the date that is 5 years prior to the date of the 
                enactment of this subsection and ending on December 30, 
                2014;
            ``(B) provides 24-hour emergency medical care and 
        observation care that does not exceed an annual per patient 
        average of 24 hours or more than 1 midnight;
            ``(C) does not provide any acute care inpatient beds and 
        has protocols in place for the timely transfer of patients who 
        require acute care inpatient services or other inpatient 
        services;
            ``(D) has elected to be designated as a rural emergency 
        hospital;
            ``(E) has received approval to operate as a rural emergency 
        hospital from the State under section 1834(r)(3)(A); and
            ``(F) is certified by the Secretary under section 
        1834(r)(3)(B).
    ``(2) The term `rural emergency hospital outpatient services' means 
medical and other health services furnished by a rural emergency 
hospital on an outpatient basis.
    ``(3) Nothing in this subsection or section 1834(r)(3) shall be 
construed to prohibit a rural emergency hospital from providing 
extended care services.''.
            (2) Payment for rural emergency hospital services.--
                    (A) In general.--Section 1833(a) of the Social 
                Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l(a)) is amended--
                            (i) in paragraph (8), by striking ``and'' 
                        at the end;
                            (ii) in paragraph (9), by striking the 
                        period at the end and inserting ``; and''; and
                            (iii) by inserting after paragraph (9) the 
                        following new paragraph:
            ``(10) in the case of rural emergency hospital emergency 
        services and services provided by a rural emergency hospital or 
        other provider of ambulance services to transport patients who 
        require acute care inpatient services or other inpatient 
        services from such rural emergency hospital to a hospital or 
        critical access hospital, the amounts described in section 
        1834(r).''.
                    (B) Payment amount.--Section 1834 of the Social 
                Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m) is amended by adding at 
                the end the following subsection:
    ``(r) Payment Rules Relating to Rural Emergency Hospitals.--
            ``(1) Payment for rural emergency hospital outpatient 
        services.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The amount of payment for rural 
                emergency hospital outpatient services of a rural 
                emergency hospital is equal to 110 percent of the 
                reasonable costs of providing such services.
                    ``(B) Telehealth services.--For purposes of this 
                paragraph, in determining the reasonable costs of 
                providing rural emergency hospital outpatient services, 
                costs associated with having a backup physician 
                available via a telecommunications system shall be 
                considered reasonable costs.
            ``(2) Payment for transportation services.--The amount of 
        payment for services provided by a rural emergency hospital or 
        other provider of ambulance services to transport patients who 
        require acute care inpatient services or other inpatient 
        services from such rural emergency hospital to a hospital or 
        critical access hospital is equal to 110 percent of the 
        reasonable costs of providing such services.
            ``(3) Requirements for rural emergency hospitals.--
                    ``(A) State approval to operate as a rural 
                emergency hospital.--No payment shall be made under 
                this subsection to a facility, or to a provider of 
                ambulance services providing transportation services 
                from such facility, unless the State in which the 
                facility is located has approved the facility's 
                designation as a rural emergency hospital.
                    ``(B) Certification of rural emergency hospital.--
                            ``(i) In general.--No payment shall be made 
                        under this subsection to a facility, or to a 
                        provider of ambulance services providing 
                        transportation services from such facility, 
                        unless the facility has been certified by the 
                        Secretary as a rural emergency hospital.
                            ``(ii) Certification requirements.--The 
                        Secretary shall certify a facility as a rural 
                        emergency hospital if the facility--
                                    ``(I) meets the criteria for rural 
                                emergency hospitals described in 
                                subparagraphs (A) through (E) of 
                                section 1861(iii)(1);
                                    ``(II) either--
                                            ``(aa) is verified by the 
                                        American College of Surgeons as 
                                        having the resources required 
                                        of a level IV trauma center or 
                                        higher; or
                                            ``(bb) employs healthcare 
                                        professionals that successfully 
                                        completed the Advanced Trauma 
                                        Life Support Course offered by 
                                        the American College of 
                                        Surgeons within the preceding 4 
                                        years;
                                    ``(III) has in effect a transfer 
                                agreement with a level I or level II 
                                trauma center; and
                                    ``(IV) meets such staff training 
                                and certification requirements as the 
                                Secretary may require.
            ``(4) Coinsurance.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The amount of payment for rural 
                emergency hospital services or transportation services 
                made to a rural emergency hospital or other provider of 
                ambulance services under this subsection shall be 
                reduced by the coinsurance amount described in 
                subparagraph (B).
                    ``(B) Coinsurance amount.--The coinsurance amount 
                described in this subparagraph, with respect to an item 
                or service provided by a rural emergency hospital or 
                provider of ambulance services, shall be calculated in 
                the same manner as the coinsurance amount for an 
                outpatient critical access hospital service is 
                calculated under section 1866(a)(2).''.
    (b) Waiver of Distance Requirement for Replacement CAHs; Subsequent 
Redesignation of Rural Emergency Hospitals as CAHs.--Section 1820(c)(2) 
of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i-4(c)(2)) is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (B)(i)(I), by inserting ``subject to 
        subparagraph (F),'' before ``is located''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:
                    ``(F) Option to waive distance requirement.--
                Beginning on the date of the enactment of this 
                subparagraph, for every critical access hospital 
                located in a State that is certified as a rural 
                emergency hospital under section 1834(r)(3)(B), the 
                State shall have the option of waiving the distance 
                requirement described in subparagraph (B)(i)(I) with 
                respect to another facility located in the State that 
                is seeking designation as a critical access hospital 
                under this paragraph.
                    ``(G) Redesignation of a rural emergency hospital 
                as a critical access hospital.--A rural emergency 
                hospital that was previously designated as a critical 
                access hospital under this paragraph may elect to be 
                redesignated as a critical access hospital (in the same 
                manner that the hospital was originally designated as a 
                critical access hospital) at any time, subject to such 
                conditions as the Secretary may establish.''.
    (c) Studies and Reports.--
            (1) Studies.--The Secretary of Health & Human Services 
        shall conduct 3 studies to evaluate the impact of rural 
        emergency hospitals on the availability of health care and 
        health outcomes in rural areas (as defined in section 
        1886(d)(2)(D) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww)). 
        The Secretary shall conduct a study--
                    (A) 2 years after the date of the enactment of this 
                Act;
                    (B) 5 years after the date of the enactment of this 
                Act; and
                    (C) 10 years after the date of the enactment of 
                this Act.
            (2) Reports.--Not later than 6 months after each date that 
        the Secretary of Health & Human Services is required to conduct 
        a study under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall submit a 
        report to Congress containing the results of each such study.
    (d) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall 
apply to items and services furnished on or after the date that is 1 
year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 4. INCLUSION OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE AS HEALTH SERVICES UNDER THE 
              NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE CORPS.

    Section 331(a)(3)(D) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 
254d(a)(3)(D)) is amended by inserting ``, and includes emergency 
medicine provided by physicians in a rural emergency hospital (as 
defined in section 1861(iii) of the Social Security Act)'' before the 
period.

SEC. 5. PERMITTING HOSPITALS WITH APPROVED RESIDENCY PROGRAMS IN 
              EMERGENCY MEDICINE TO INCLUDE TIME SPENT BY INTERNS AND 
              RESIDENTS IN THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT OF A RURAL HOSPITAL 
              IN FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT COUNT.

    (a) Indirect Medical Education.--Section 1886(d)(5)(B)(iv) of the 
Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(5)(B)(iv)) is amended by 
adding at the end the following new subclause:
            ``(III) Effective for discharges occurring on or after 
        October 1, 2015, all of the time spent in patient care 
        activities in the emergency department of a rural hospital by 
        interns and residents in emergency medicine from a hospital 
        with an approved medical residency training program (as defined 
        in subsection (h)(5)(A)) in such specialty shall be included in 
        determining the number of full-time equivalent interns and 
        residents in such program if the hospital with such program 
        incurs the costs of the stipends and fringe benefits of the 
        interns or residents during the time the interns or residents 
        spend in that rural hospital in accordance with subclause (II). 
        In this subclause, the term `rural hospital' means a hospital 
        that is located in a rural area (as defined for purposes of 
        paragraph (2)(D)).''.
    (b) Direct Medical Education.--Section 1886(h)(4)(E) of the Social 
Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395(h)(4)) is amended--
            (1) in clause (ii), by striking the period at the end and 
        inserting ``; and'';
            (2) by inserting after clause (ii) the following new 
        clause:
                            ``(iii) effective for cost reporting 
                        periods beginning on or after July 1, 2015, all 
                        of the time so spent in the emergency 
                        department of a rural hospital by residents in 
                        emergency medicine from a hospital with an 
                        approved medical residency training program in 
                        such specialty shall be counted towards the 
                        determination of full-time equivalency in such 
                        program if the hospital with such program bears 
                        all, or substantially all, of the costs of 
                        training such residents in the rural hospital. 
                        In this subparagraph, the term `rural hospital' 
                        means a hospital that is located in a rural 
                        area (as defined for purposes of subsection 
                        (d)(2)(D)).''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new sentence: ``For 
        purposes of this subparagraph, the emergency department of a 
        rural hospital described in clause (iii) is a nonprovider 
        setting.''.
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