Texas Register Preamble
The Executive Commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) adopts on an emergency basis in Title 26 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 600, Limited Services Rural Hospitals, new §600.1, concerning an emergency rule to permit qualified rural hospitals to apply for licensure as a limited services rural hospital.
This emergency rule is proposed under and implements Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 241, Subchapter K, which allows a qualified rural hospital that is designated as rural emergency hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to become licensed as a limited services rural hospital and remain open to treat patients.
As authorized by Texas Government Code §2001.034, HHSC may adopt an emergency rule without prior notice or hearing upon finding that an imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare requires adoption on fewer than 30 days’ notice. Emergency rules adopted under Texas Government Code §2001.034 may be effective for not longer than 120 days and may be renewed for not longer than 60 days.
The purpose of the emergency rulemaking is to implement Senate Bill 1621, 86th Legislature, Regular Session, 2019, which the Legislature enacted to further federal efforts to ensure individuals living in rural areas continue to have access to hospital care, in response to the closure of rural hospitals. HHSC accordingly finds that this threat to access to hospital care constitutes an imminent peril to the public health, safety, and welfare of the state that requires immediate adoption of this emergency rule for limited services rural hospitals.
To protect individuals living in rural areas and the public health, safety, and welfare of the state, HHSC is adopting this emergency rule to permit a qualified rural hospital to become licensed as a limited services rural hospital under Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 241, Subchapter K.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Senate Bill 1621 added Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 241, Subchapter K, which, in part, requires HHSC to adopt licensing standards for limited services rural hospitals if the United States Congress passes a bill creating a payment program specifically for limited services rural hospitals or similarly designated hospitals that becomes law. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, became law on December 27, 2020, and required CMS to establish a federal rural emergency hospital designation. The CMS conditions of participation for rural emergency hospitals took effect January 1, 2023.
The requirements and flexibilities established in this section are applicable while this emergency rule is in effect pursuant to Texas Government Code §2001.034 (relating to Emergency Rulemaking) and Texas Government Code §531.0055 (relating to Executive Commissioner: General Responsibility for Health and Human Services System, respectively).
The emergency rulemaking is adopted under Texas Government Code §2001.034 and §531.0055 and Texas Health and Safety Code §§241.302 and 241.303. Texas Government Code §2001.034 authorizes the adoption of emergency rules without prior notice and hearing, if an agency finds that an imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare requires adoption of a rule on fewer than 30 days' notice. Texas Government Code §531.0055 authorizes the Executive Commissioner of HHSC to adopt rules and policies necessary for the operation and provision of health and human services by the health and human services system. Texas Health and Safety Code §241.302 authorizes the Executive Commissioner of HHSC to adopt rules governing licensing standards for limited services rural hospitals, and §241.303 authorizes the Executive Commissioner to establish and collect licensing fees for limited services rural hospitals.
The new section implements Texas Government Code §531.0055 and Texas Health and Safety Code §§241.302 and 241.303.
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