House adopts CLASS Act; 'red flags' rule bill stalls in Senate committee

Share this content:
CMS: Demonstration project to reward nursing homes that provide high-quality care
CMS: Demonstration project to reward nursing homes that provide high-quality care

The House of Representatives has decided to include the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act, a voluntary long-term care insurance program, in its healthcare reform bill.

The legislation also contains a provision directing the Department of Health and Human Services to provide supplemental payments to skilled nursing facilities “with high percentages of Medicare and Medicaid patients and that are efficiently operated and provide quality care." That is according to an official summary of the legislation.

In other legislative news, a bill that would exempt certain healthcare facilities from the “red flags” rule has been met with stony silence from the Senate. After sailing through the House, the exemptions bill was sent to the Senate Banking Committee, where members have yet to move on the issue. This inaction could force the Federal Trade Commission, the agency responsible for enforcing the rule, to postpone implementation yet again. The Nov. 1 compliance deadline is the agency's third attempt at setting a date.

The “red flags” rule would require businesses considered “creditors” to implement policies to protect against identity theft. Nursing homes and some healthcare agencies would qualify as creditors since they do not immediately receive payment for services rendered. The current legislation would exempt small healthcare, legal and accounting agencies from the rules. It also would open a pathway for all businesses to apply for exemption, provided they meet certain criteria.