Hospitals asked the federal government to temporarily waive some Medicare requirements and provide broader liability protection for providers working in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina during a House subcommittee hearing. Speaking on behalf of the American Hospital Association, Mark Peters, president and chief executive officer of 448-bed East Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Metairie, La. laid out a 19-point plan to restore the health infrastructure in affected areas. The plan included granting HHS authority to waive Medicare requirements such as bed and length-of-stay requirements for critical-access hospitals; Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act sanctions for the transfer of individuals to other locations for medical screenings or transfer of individuals who have not been stabilized; and Stark and antikickback regulations prohibiting hospitals from providing office space to physicians whose offices have been damaged or destroyed by Katrina. The AHA also asked for enhanced disproportionate-share hospital payments for facilities directly affected by the storm. -- by Tony Fong
AHA asks feds for protections in Katrina areas
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