The Joint Commission would lose its deeming authority under a House bill reauthorizing the State Childrens Health Insurance Program and revising other provisions in Medicare and Medicaid. If this measure is approved, a hospital accredited by the commission would no longer automatically meet conditions of participation under Medicare.
"The Joint Commission is aware of that provision (in the bill), and we'll be working with the folks on Capitol Hill," a commission spokeswoman said.
This and other controversial provisions are part of the Childrens Health and Medicare Protection Act, which was being worked on by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee early today, although partisan debate has stalled progress in the Energy and Commerce Committee, with much of the arguments centering on funding and on the bills proposals to expand coverage to older children and immigrants under waiver options.
The bill has received mixed reviews from healthcare providers: the American Hospital Association recently showed support for the bills Medicare provisions in letters to the leadership on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means. Other groups, such as the Physician Hospitals of America oppose the bills permanent ban on physician self-referral to specialty hospitals. Its provisions to freeze reimbursement rate increases to some providers could slash nursing home care by $2.7 billion over five years, the American Health Care Association estimates.
Despite the deadlock in the House, sources on the Hill are expecting that both SCHIP reauthorization bills in the House and Senate will be ready next weekwith a Senate vote taking place as early as Monday or Tuesday. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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