Hoeven Urges Head of HHS, CMS to Delay Rule that Would Financially Burden Small, Rural Long-Term Care Facilities

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven recently led 23 of his fellow senators in urging Eric Hargan, Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to delay the updated “Requirements of Participation” regulations for skilled nursing facilities in order to consider feedback from affected health care providers and patient advocacy groups. The senators stressed that the requirements impose costs that are overly burdensome to small and rural long-term care providers. The full letter can be found here.

“Our rural long-term care facilities provide a vital service to local communities, giving patients the ability to remain closer to their homes and loved ones,” said Hoeven. “Due to the size, many of these facilities get by with very thin margins. The one-size-fits-all mandates included in CMS’ updated Requirements of Participation are burdensome for smaller health care providers and threaten to limit options for skilled nursing care in rural areas. That’s why we are calling on Acting Secretary Hargan and Administrator Verma to delay the rules and work with long-term care providers and patient advocacy groups to find ways to ensure quality care and the safety of patients without imposing costly and duplicative regulations.” 

“We applaud Senator Hoeven’s leadership in asking HHS and CMS to reconsider these overly burdensome rules,” said Shelly Peterson, President of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association. “We need to focus on the patient, not paperwork, and so we appreciate Senator Hoeven’s approach in asking for a review of these rules.”

This effort dovetails with Hoeven’s ongoing work to improve veteran access to long-term care services. Earlier this year, Hoeven reintroduced his Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act with Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), which would remove burdensome red tape that prevents nursing homes and other health care providers from accepting veteran patients. 

The legislation allows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter into provider agreements with qualified health care and extended care facilities, bypassing complex and often times expensive federal contracting requirements. This will give veterans more options to access long-term care services closer to their homes, families and loved ones. VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin committed to work with Hoeven on this effort, and a companion to Hoeven’s bill was introduced in the House of Representatives last week.