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PAYMENTS TO PROMOTE CLOSING AND CONVERSION OF UNDERUTILIZED HOSPITAL FACILITIES

Sec1884[42 U.S.C. 1395uu] (a) Any hospital may file an application with the Secretary (in such form and including such data and information as the Secretary may require) for establishment of a transitional allowance under this title with respect to the closing or conversion of an underutilized hospital facility. The Secretary also may establish procedures, consistent with this section, by which a hospital, before undergoing an actual closure or conversion of a hospital facility, can have a determination made as to whether or not it will be eligible for a transitional allowance under this section with respect to such closure or conversion.

(b) If the Secretary finds, after consideration of an application under subsection (a), that—

(1) the hospital’s closure or conversion—

(A) is formally initiated after September 30, 1981,

(B) is expected to benefit the program under this title by (i) eliminating excess bed capacity, (ii) discontinuing an underutilized service for which there are adequate alternative sources, or (iii) substituting for the underutilized service some other service which is needed in the area, and

(C) is consistent with the findings of an appropriate health planning agency and with any applicable State program for reduction in the number of hospital beds in the State, and

(2) in the case of a complete closure of a hospital—

(A) the hospital is a private nonprofit hospital or a local governmental hospital, and

(B) the closure is not for replacement of the hospital,

the Secretary may include as an allowable cost in the hospital’s reasonable cost (for the purpose of making payments to the hospital under this title) an amount (in this section referred to as a “transitional allowance”), as provided in subsection (c).

(c)(1) Each transitional allowance established shall be reasonably related to the prior or prospective use of the facility involved under this title and shall recognize—

(A) in the case of a facility conversion or closure (other than a complete closure of a hospital)—

(i) in the case of a private nonprofit or local governmental hospital, that portion of the hospital’s costs attributable to capital assets of the facility which have been taken into account in determining reasonable cost for purposes of determining the amount of payment to the hospital under this title, and

(ii) in the case of any hospital, transitional operating cost increases related to the conversion or closure to the extent that such operating costs exceed amounts ordinarily reimbursable under this title; and

(B) in the case of complete closure of a hospital, the outstanding portion of actual debt obligations previously recognized as reasonable for purposes of reimbursement under this title, less any salvage value of the hospital.

(2) A transitional allowance shall be for a period (not to exceed 20 years) specified by the Secretary, except that, in the case of a complete closure described in paragraph (1)(B), the Secretary may provide for a lump-sum allowance where the Secretary determines that such a one-time allowance is more efficient and economical.

(3) A transitional allowance shall take effect on a date established by the Secretary, but not earlier than the date of completion of the closure or conversion concerned.

(4) A transitional allowance shall not be considered in applying the limits to costs recognized as reasonable pursuant to the third sentence of subparagraph (A) and subparagraph (L)(i) of section 1861(v)(1) of this Act, or in determining whether the reasonable cost exceeds the customary charges for a service for purposes of determining the amount to be paid to a provider pursuant to sections 1814(b) and 1833(a)(2) of this Act.

(d) A hospital dissatisfied with a determination of the Secretary on its application under this section may obtain an informal or formal hearing, at the discretion of the Secretary, by filing (in such form and within such time period as the Secretary establishes) a request for such a hearing. The Secretary shall make a final determination on such application within 30 days after the last day of such hearing.