Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Travis Lloyd discussed with STAT News the regulatory framework the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is building for a new provider type, rural emergency hospitals (REHs), set to go into effect on January 1. The intent of the REH provider type is to help preserve healthcare services in rural markets by offering greater financial support from Medicare for small rural hospitals that meet certain conditions.

While CMS had considered granting REHs an exception to the physician self-referral prohibition commonly known as the Stark Law, Travis said, feedback on the proposed rule ultimately led CMS to leave this out of regulations for REHs that CMS published as part of the outpatient prospective payment system (outpatient PPS) rule published on November 1. CMS cannot create self-referral exceptions that pose the risk of patient harm or abuse, and the agency determined that this exception would fail that test, Travis stated.

The article, “Medicare Punts on Quality Rules for New Type of Rural Hospital,” was published by STAT News on November 2 is available online (subscription required).