House Health Committee Approves Cutler Measure to Improve Health Care Efficiency
4/23/2013

Legislation would allow for treatment of additional patients during large-scale emergencies

HARRISBURG – The House Health Committee Monday unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) to eliminate redundancies in hospital licensing and make the process more efficient.

“We have seen great advances in the health care industry with enhanced patient care, life-saving technology, and record keeping. This progress has improved patient outcomes, reduced the length of hospital stays and enabled providers to see more patients,” said Cutler.  “One area of our health care system that has not kept pace with modern advances is our laws governing hospital inspection and licensure. Today, health care facilities are inspected by both public and private entities, resulting in duplication, lost productivity, and increases to health care and taxpayer costs."

Cutler’s House Bill 1190 would cut government red tape and reduce costs for hospitals and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) by allowing the use of “deemed status” to exempt hospitals from routine licensure renewal surveys conducted by the department. 

If enacted, DOH would recognize reports of national accreditation organizations as acceptable for meeting licensure requirements, as long as the organization’s standards are equal to or more stringent than the department’s.  Hospitals not meeting accreditation criteria would still be subject to the current licensing requirements of DOH. 

Cutler, a former X-ray technologist and manager of support services for Lancaster General Hospital, noted that under his legislation, DOH would maintain full authority to inspect a hospital based on patient complaints. 

“It is appropriate for the department to continue its responsibility of investigating complaints against hospitals,” said Cutler.  “These types of inspections are necessary to protect patient health.  It is the duplicative nature of the procedural inspections we are hoping to eliminate because they impact the cost of care and the cost to administer the department.”

In addition to reducing repetitious inspections, Cutler’s legislation also contains a provision that would allow hospitals to exceed identified bed limits defined within their licenses during times of natural disaster, catastrophes, acts of bioterrorism, epidemics and other emergencies. 

“This provision is vital in rural areas of the state which may only be served by one hospital,” said Cutler.  “As we saw with the disasters in West, Texas, and Boston, health care facilities can become quickly overrun during large-scale catastrophes, and we cannot ask our providers to turn away patients suffering from extreme illnesses or traumatic injuries.  We must allow this flexibility in licensing during times of emergency.”

House Bill 1190 will now go before the full House for consideration and debate. 

More information about Cutler and his legislative priorities is available at www.RepCutler.com and www.Facebook.com/RepBryanCutler.   

Representative Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Nicole Wamsley
717.783.8063
nwamsley@pahousegop.com
Twitter.com/RepBryanCutler
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