Two dozen senators ask HHS for delay of requirements of participation

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The Senate letter was delivered to HHS and CMS officials Oct. 26.
The Senate letter was delivered to HHS and CMS officials Oct. 26.

With just over one month to go before the regulations kick in, a group of senators has sent a letter to federal health officials asking for a delay of Phase 2 of the requirements of participation.

The letter was sent to Acting Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma with signatures from 24 senators, according to a supporting document from the American Health Care Association. The organization called on lawmakers earlier in October to sign the Senate letter, which was spearheaded by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), as well as a similar request sponsored in the House by Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH).

Hoeven's letter states that “there is nothing more important than ensuring the safety of nursing home residents” but that improving care quality while cutting back on providers' administrative burdens “are not mutually exclusive issues.”

The senators' request asks for a one-year delay of the rule's “overly burdensome provisions,” which would allow health officials more time to work with providers on possible revisions. It could also be a reprieve from the estimated $62,900 the regulations would cost each facility in the first year.

AHCA Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Clifton J. Porter II said the letter backs up providers' concerns about how the new regulatory burdens may affect caring for residents, as well as concerns about implementation for rural providers.

LeadingAge submitted comments to lawmakers in August, requesting a similar one-year delay of the regulations. Phase 2 of the rule is slated to take effect Nov. 28.