U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS, discussed the impacts of President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2021 budget on rural health during a Senate Finance Committee hearing with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar Feb. 13.

Roberts applauded the administration for eliminating the 96-hour rule in the proposed budget. Sen. Roberts has fought for years to eliminate the 96-hour rule, which requires Critical Access Hospitals to have a physician certify, in writing, that the patient is expected to be discharged or transferred within 96 hours.

“I’m glad to see this rule eliminated, as it places limits on how many hours patients can stay in critical access hospitals,” said Roberts. “This overly burdensome and redundant regulation can force hospitals to transfer or turn away patients they could have provided with high quality care.”

Roberts also discussed a new HHS proposal that would allow Critical Access Hospitals to convert to an emergency facility that does not maintain inpatient beds.

For video from the hearing, click here.

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