Officials of rural hospitals have denounced at a congressional hearing the “96-hour rule” rule, which requires physicians at critical-access hospitals to certify that Medicare and Medicaid patients may reasonably expect to be discharged or transferred to another hospital within 96 hours of admission. They also dislike a new proposed direct-supervision policy.
Dr. Daniel Derksen, director of the Arizona Center for Rural Health, told the House Ways and Means Committee’s Health Subcommittee that physicians might need to change patients’ treatment after lab testing, and that can change their estimated length of stay.
And it was argued that critical-access hospitals should continue to be exempt from a policy that requires supervising clinicians to be physically on-site when Medicare patients are receiving outpatient therapeutic services, such as infusions or vaccinations. Given the remoteness of some rural hospitals, officials argued, it’s not always possible to have supervising clinicians present.
Further, the panel was told that graduate medical-education slots need to be more fairly allocated to help rural areas recruit providers.