bona fide emergency services
(1) (A) The reasonable cost of any services shall be the cost actually incurred, excluding therefrom any part of incurred cost found to be unnecessary in the efficient delivery of needed health services, and shall be determined in accordance with regulations establishing the method or methods to be used, and the items to be included, in determining such costs for various types or classes of institutions, agencies, and services; except that in any case to which paragraph (2) or (3) applies, the amount of the payment determined under such paragraph with respect to the services involved shall be considered the reasonable cost of such services. In prescribing the regulations referred to in the preceding sentence, the Secretary shall consider, among other things, the principles generally applied by national organizations or established prepayment organizations (which have developed such principles) in computing the amount of payment, to be made by persons other than the recipients of services, to providers of services on account of services furnished to such recipients by such providers. Such regulations may provide for determination of the costs of services on a per diem, per unit, per capita, or other basis, may provide for using different methods in different circumstances, may provide for the use of estimates of costs of particular items or services, may provide for the establishment of limits on the direct or indirect overall incurred costs or incurred costs of specific items or services or groups of items or services to be recognized as reasonable based on estimates of the costs necessary in the efficient delivery of needed health services to individuals covered by the insurance programs established under this subchapter, and may provide for the use of charges or a percentage of charges where this method reasonably reflects the costs. Such regulations shall (i) take into account both direct and indirect costs of providers of services (excluding therefrom any such costs, including standby costs, which are determined in accordance with regulations to be unnecessary in the efficient delivery of services covered by the insurance programs established under this subchapter) in order that, under the methods of determining costs, the necessary costs of efficiently delivering covered services to individuals covered by the insurance programs established by this subchapter will not be borne by individuals not so covered, and the costs with respect to individuals not so covered will not be borne by such insurance programs, and (ii) provide for the making of suitable retroactive corrective adjustments where, for a provider of services for any fiscal period, the aggregate reimbursement produced by the methods of determining costs proves to be either inadequate or excessive. (B) In the case of extended care services, the regulations under subparagraph (A) shall not include provision for specific recognition of a return on equity capital. (C) Where a hospital has an arrangement with a medical school under which the faculty of such school provides services at such hospital, an amount not in excess of the reasonable cost of such services to the medical school shall be included in determining the reasonable cost to the hospital of furnishing services— (i) for which payment may be made under part A, but only if— (I) payment for such services as furnished under such arrangement would be made under part A to the hospital had such services been furnished by the hospital, and (II) such hospital pays to the medical school at least the reasonable cost of such services to the medical school, or (ii) for which payment may be made under part B, but only if such hospital pays to the medical school at least the reasonable cost of such services to the medical school. (D) Where (i) physicians furnish services which are either inpatient hospital services (including services in conjunction with the teaching programs of such hospital) by reason of paragraph (7) of subsection (b) or for which entitlement exists by reason of clause (II) of section 1395k(a)(2)(B)(i) of this title , and (ii) such hospital (or medical school under arrangement with such hospital) incurs no actual cost in the furnishing of such services, the reasonable cost of such services shall (under regulations of the Secretary) be deemed to be the cost such hospital or medical school would have incurred had it paid a salary to such physicians rendering such services approximately equivalent to the average salary paid to all physicians employed by such hospital (or if such employment does not exist, or is minimal in such hospital, by similar hospitals in a geographic area of sufficient size to assure reasonable inclusion of sufficient physicians in development of such average salary). (E) Such regulations may, in the case of skilled nursing facilities in any State, provide for the use of rates, developed by the State in which such facilities are located, for the payment of the cost of skilled nursing facility services furnished under the State’s plan approved under subchapter XIX (and such rates may be increased by the Secretary on a class or size of institution or on a geographical basis by a percentage factor not in excess of 10 percent to take into account determinable items or services or other requirements under this subchapter not otherwise included in the computation of such State rates), if the Secretary finds that such rates are reasonably related to (but not necessarily limited to) analyses undertaken by such State of costs of care in comparable facilities in such State. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, such regulations with respect to skilled nursing facilities shall take into account (in a manner consistent with subparagraph (A) and based on patient-days of services furnished) the costs (including the costs of services required to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident eligible for benefits under this subchapter) of such facilities complying with the requirements of subsections (b), (c), and (d) of section 1395i–3 of this title (including the costs of conducting nurse aide training and competency evaluation programs and competency evaluation programs). (F) Such regulations shall require each provider of services (other than a fund) to make reports to the Secretary of information described in section 1320a(a) of this title in accordance with the uniform reporting system (established under such section) for that type of provider. (G) (i) In any case in which a hospital provides inpatient services to an individual that would constitute post-hospital extended care services if provided by a skilled nursing facility and a quality improvement organization (or, in the absence of such a qualified organization, the Secretary or such agent as the Secretary may designate) determines that inpatient hospital services for the individual are not medically necessary but post-hospital extended care services for the individual are medically necessary and such extended care services are not otherwise available to the individual (as determined in accordance with criteria established by the Secretary) at the time of such determination, payment for such services provided to the individual shall continue to be made under this subchapter at the payment rate described in clause (ii) during the period in which— (I) such post-hospital extended care services for the individual are medically necessary and not otherwise available to the individual (as so determined), (II) inpatient hospital services for the individual are not medically necessary, and (III) the individual is entitled to have payment made for post-hospital extended care services under this subchapter, except that if the Secretary determines that there is not an excess of hospital beds in such hospital and (subject to clause (iv)) there is not an excess of hospital beds in the area of such hospital, such payment shall be made (during such period) on the basis of the amount otherwise payable under part A with respect to inpatient hospital services. (ii) (I) Except as provided in subclause (II), the payment rate referred to in clause (i) is a rate equal to the estimated adjusted State-wide average rate per patient-day paid for services provided in skilled nursing facilities under the State plan approved under subchapter XIX for the State in which such hospital is located, or, if the State in which the hospital is located does not have a State plan approved under subchapter XIX, the estimated adjusted State-wide average allowable costs per patient-day for extended care services under this subchapter in that State. (II) If a hospital has a unit which is a skilled nursing facility, the payment rate referred to in clause (i) for the hospital is a rate equal to the lesser of the rate described in subclause (I) or the allowable costs in effect under this subchapter for extended care services provided to patients of such unit. (iii) Any day on which an individual receives inpatient services for which payment is made under this subparagraph shall, for purposes of this chapter (other than this subparagraph), be deemed to be a day on which the individual received inpatient hospital services. (iv) In determining under clause (i), in the case of a public hospital, whether or not there is an excess of hospital beds in the area of such hospital, such determination shall be made on the basis of only the public hospitals (including the hospital) which are in the area of the hospital and which are under common ownership with that hospital. (H) In determining such reasonable cost with respect to home health agencies, the Secretary may not include— (i) any costs incurred in connection with bonding or establishing an escrow account by any such agency as a result of the surety bond requirement described in subsection (o)(7) and the financial security requirement described in subsection (o)(8); (ii) in the case of home health agencies to which the surety bond requirement described in subsection (o)(7) and the financial security requirement described in subsection (o)(8) apply, any costs attributed to interest charged such an agency in connection with amounts borrowed by the agency to repay overpayments made under this subchapter to the agency, except that such costs may be included in reasonable cost if the Secretary determines that the agency was acting in good faith in borrowing the amounts; (iii) in the case of contracts entered into by a home health agency after December 5, 1980 , for the purpose of having services furnished for or on behalf of such agency, any cost incurred by such agency pursuant to any such contract which is entered into for a period exceeding five years; and (iv) in the case of contracts entered into by a home health agency before December 5, 1980 , for the purpose of having services furnished for or on behalf of such agency, any cost incurred by such agency pursuant to any such contract, which determines the amount payable by the home health agency on the basis of a percentage of the agency’s reimbursement or claim for reimbursement for services furnished by the agency, to the extent that such cost exceeds the reasonable value of the services furnished on behalf of such agency. (I) In determining such reasonable cost, the Secretary may not include any costs incurred by a provider with respect to any services furnished in connection with matters for which payment may be made under this subchapter and furnished pursuant to a contract between the provider and any of its subcontractors which is entered into after December 5, 1980 , and the value or cost of which is $10,000 or more over a twelve-month period unless the contract contains a clause to the effect that— (i) until the expiration of four years after the furnishing of such services pursuant to such contract, the subcontractor shall make available, upon written request by the Secretary, or upon request by the Comptroller General, or any of their duly authorized representatives, the contract, and books, documents and records of such subcontractor that are necessary to certify the nature and extent of such costs, and (ii) if the subcontractor carries out any of the duties of the contract through a subcontract, with a value or cost of $10,000 or more over a twelve-month period, with a related organization, such subcontract shall contain a clause to the effect that until the expiration of four years after the furnishing of such services pursuant to such subcontract, the related organization shall make available, upon written request by the Secretary, or upon request by the Comptroller General, or any of their duly authorized representatives, the subcontract, and books, documents and records of such organization that are necessary to verify the nature and extent of such costs. The Secretary shall prescribe in regulation criteria and procedures which the Secretary shall use in obtaining access to books, documents, and records under clauses required in contracts and subcontracts under this subparagraph. (J) Such regulations may not provide for any inpatient routine salary cost differential as a reimbursable cost for hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. (K) (i) The Secretary shall issue regulations that provide, to the extent feasible, for the establishment of limitations on the amount of any costs or charges that shall be considered reasonable with respect to services provided on an outpatient basis by hospitals (other than bona fide emergency services as defined in clause (ii)) or clinics (other than rural health clinics), which are reimbursed on a cost basis or on the basis of cost related charges, and by physicians utilizing such outpatient facilities. Such limitations shall be reasonably related to the charges in the same area for similar services provided in physicians’ offices. Such regulations shall provide for exceptions to such limitations in cases where similar services are not generally available in physicians’ offices in the area to individuals entitled to benefits under this subchapter. (ii) For purposes of clause (i), the term “bona fide emergency services” means services provided in a hospital emergency room after the sudden onset of a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in— (I) placing the patient’s health in serious jeopardy; (II) serious impairment to bodily functions; or (III) serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part. (L) (i) The Secretary, in determining the amount of the payments that may be made under this subchapter with respect to services furnished by home health agencies, may not recognize as reasonable (in the efficient delivery of such services) costs for the provision of such services by an agency to the extent these costs exceed (on the aggregate for the agency) for cost reporting periods beginning on or after— (I) July 1, 1985 , and before July 1, 1986 , 120 percent of the mean of the labor-related and nonlabor per visit costs for freestanding home health agencies, (II) July 1, 1986 , and before July 1, 1987 , 115 percent of such mean, (III) July 1, 1987 , and before October 1, 1997 , 112 percent of such mean, (IV) October 1, 1997 , and before October 1, 1998 , 105 percent of the median of the labor-related and nonlabor per visit costs for freestanding home health agencies, or (V) October 1, 1998 , 106 percent of such median. (ii) Effective for cost reporting periods beginning on or after July 1, 1986 , such limitations shall be applied on an aggregate basis for the agency, rather than on a discipline specific basis. The Secretary may provide for such exemptions and exceptions to such limitation as he deems appropriate. (iii) Not later than July 1, 1991 , and annually thereafter (but not for cost reporting periods beginning on or after July 1, 1994 , and before July 1, 1996 , or on or after July 1, 1997 , and before October 1, 1997 ), the Secretary shall establish limits under this subparagraph for cost reporting periods beginning on or after such date by utilizing the area wage index applicable under section 1395ww(d)(3)(E) of this title and determined using the survey of the most recent available wages and wage-related costs of hospitals located in the geographic area in which the home health service is furnished (determined without regard to whether such hospitals have been reclassified to a new geographic area pursuant to section 1395ww(d)(8)(B) of this title , a decision of the Medicare Geographic Classification Review Board under section 1395ww(d)(10) of this title , or a decision of the Secretary). (iv) In establishing limits under this subparagraph for cost reporting periods beginning after September 30, 1997 , the Secretary shall not take into account any changes in the home health market basket, as determined by the Secretary, with respect to cost reporting periods which began on or after July 1, 1994 , and before July 1, 1996 .