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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006

Location: Washington, DC




Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.


Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 ½ minutes.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment is very simple. It is a prohibited use of funds amendment to prevent a new rule from being implemented by CMS that would adversely affect and penalize hospitals that have critical access designation throughout the country, of which there is approximately 1,119 serving predominantly rural communities throughout our Nation.

What the new rule that is moving forward would do is, in essence, to strip these hospitals from critical access designation, along with the funding that follows, if they decide to modernize and relocate their facilities further than 250 yards away from their present location.

Obviously many of us in the Rural Health Coalition in this Congress feel is a very restrictive rule, a draconian attempt to try to accomplish something that is laudable, trying to keep these facilities servicing these high-need areas and the people that they are currently servicing, but a 250-yard rule seems overly restrictive to accomplish that purpose.

This would affect the modernization of new facilities that may occur across the street or down the road or a few blocks away or perhaps in a different location in the community in which they are servicing or perhaps even affecting a hospital that was recently impacted by the earthquakes in California and are now forced to have to locate in a different place because of the damage that has been done.

There is another rule that is moving forward by CMS that makes a lot more sense. It would require that if a critical access hospital does move, that they still have to serve at least 75 percent of the current population, the patients and staff that they are already serving. That makes more sense.

So we are hoping today to be able to raise attention to this very important issue. We still have a little bit of time to work this out with CMS. I have recently had conversations with the chair of the Committee on Ways and Means and the chairwoman of the subcommittee of the Committee on Ways and Means who are interested in working with many of us to try to resolve this issue with CMS.

Based on their assurances in those conversations, we feel very confident that we should be able to work this out with CMS so that we do not go forward on this very restrictive and narrow rule.

I do want to thank, however, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Stupak), the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Moran) and also the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Terry) for their assistance with this amendment and helping to elevate the education in this House in regards to what is taking place.

Hopefully through the conference process, hopefully through the cooperation we expect to receive through CMS, further legislation on this matter will not be necessary.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Regula).

Mr. REGULA. Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding the gentleman is going to withdraw this amendment; is that correct?

Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, that is correct.

Mr. REGULA. Mr. Chairman, in light of that, I do not oppose it.

Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the remainder of the time. And let me just conclude, that based on assurances that we received from the appropriate people on the Committee on Ways and Means, the chair, the subcommittee chairwoman, and also the fact that we still have time in which to cut this rule off before it is fully implemented, it is my intent today to ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment and hope that we can get this resolved without further legislative action being taken.

Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment.


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