On Dec. 9, shortly before midnight, Congress avoided a government shutdown by passing a continuing resolution that will keep the federal government running through April 28, 2017. With that action, Congress completed all scheduled legislative business for the 114th Congress.
Also last week, the Senate passed 21st Century Cures Act legislation, clearing it for the president’s signature, which came during a White House ceremony Dec. 13. The House passed the same measure the week before. The legislation holds a major victory for essential hospitals: the use of risk adjustment for socioeconomic status in the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. The bill also includes an exemption for scheduled cuts to new hospital outpatient departments if a facility was considered “mid-build” by Nov. 2, 2015.
In a statement, America’s Essential Hospitals praised lawmakers for approving the Cures package. The socioeconomic risk adjustment language resulted from association member advocacy in 2014.
Lawmakers are scheduled to return for the 115th Congress on Jan. 3.