Tester introduces bill to loosen restrictions on rural health care providers

Senator's PARTS Act improves access to outpatient treatments in rural America

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester today introduced a bipartisan bill to loosen burdensome restrictions on outpatient care providers in rural states like Montana.

Tester’s Protecting Access to Rural Therapy Services (PARTS) Act would allow rural hospitals to provide outpatient treatment to Medicare patients without requiring the presence of an attending physician. Currently, all Medicare patients must receive their outpatient treatments with a supervising physician present the whole time, which is not always possible in rural America where many care centers are understaffed.

“Rural families face unique health care hardships, and they deserve access to quality care without being forced to travel long distances,” Sen. Tester said. “This bill removes burdens for rural patients, provides Critical Access Hospitals certainty, and upholds the standard of health care that rural Americans expect.”

Tester’s bill would retroactively apply to hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals for failing to meet Medicare’s current restrictions from 2001 through 2016.

Tester also introduced a bipartisan bill that removes the requirement that Critical Access Hospitals discharge or transfer patients in less than 96 hours. Many believe this requirement could lead to early discharge, substandard care and potential readmission if the patient is rushed out the door. If not addressed, it could also lead to improper reimbursement for hospitals if treating a patient takes longer than expected.

Tester’s bipartisan PARTS Act is available online HERE.

Tester’s bipartisan Critical Access Hospital Relief Act is available online HERE.