Key Statutory Provisions within the Social Security Act for RHCs:

1833 Payment of Benefits: 




(3) in the case of services described in section 1832(a)(2)(D)—

(A) except as provided in subparagraph (B), the costs which are reasonable and related to the cost of furnishing such services or which are based on such other tests of reasonableness as the Secretary may prescribe in regulations, including those authorized under section 1861(v)(1)(A), less the amount a provider may charge as described in clause (ii) of section 1866(a)(2)(A), but in no case may the payment for such services (other than for items and services described in section 1861(s)(10)(A)) exceed 80 percent of such costs; or

(B) with respect to the services described in clause (ii) of section 1832(a)(2)(D) that are furnished to an individual enrolled with a MA plan under part C pursuant to a written agreement described in section 1853(a)(4), the amount (if any) by which—

(i) the amount of payment that would have otherwise been provided (I) under subparagraph (A) (calculated as if “100 percent” were substituted for “80 percent” in such subparagraph) for such services if the individual had not been so enrolled, or (II) in the case of such services furnished on or after the implementation date of the prospective payment system under section 1834(o), under such section (calculated as if “100 percent” were substituted for “80 percent” in such section) for such services if the individual had not been so enrolled; exceeds

(ii) the amount of the payments received under such written agreement for such services (not including any financial incentives provided for in such agreement such as risk pool payments, bonuses, or withholds), less the amount the federally qualified health center may charge as described in section 1857(e)(3)(B);


NARHC translation: Medicare must pay reasonable costs to RHCs.


(f) In establishing limits under subsection (a) on payment for rural health clinic services provided by rural health clinics (other than such clinics in hospitals with less than 50 beds), the Secretary shall establish such limit, for services provided—

(1) in 1988, after March 31, at $46 per visit, and

(2) in a subsequent year, at the limit established under this subsection for the previous year increased by the percentage increase in the MEI (as defined in section 1842(i)(3)) applicable to primary care services (as defined in section 1842(i)(4)) furnished as of the first day of that year.


NARHC translation: This creates the cap or “limit” on payment per visit for all RHCs except for those owned by hospitals with less than 50 beds.
Note: This section is out dated due to recent changes made in the RHC Modernization Act. Once finalized and made available we will provide the current version of the statutes.


1861 Defintions of Services, Institutions, ETC.


Rural Health Clinic Services And Federally Qualified Health Center Services

(aa)(1) The term “rural health clinic services” means—

(A) physicians’ services and such services and supplies as are covered under section 1861(s)

(2)(A) if furnished as an incident to a physician’s professional service and items and services described in section 1861(s)(10),

(B) such services furnished by a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner (as defined in paragraph (5)), by a clinical psychologist (as defined by the Secretary) or by a clinical social worker (as defined in subsection (hh)(1)), and such services and supplies furnished as an incident to his service as would otherwise be covered if furnished by a physician or as an incident to a physician’s service, and

(C) in the case of a rural health clinic located in an area in which there exists a shortage of home health agencies, part-time or intermittent nursing care and related medical supplies (other than drugs and biologicals) furnished by a registered professional nurse or licensed practical nurse to a homebound individual under a written plan of treatment (i) established and periodically reviewed by a physician described in paragraph (2)(B), or (ii) established by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant and periodically reviewed and approved by a physician described in paragraph (2)(B),

when furnished to an individual as an outpatient of a rural health clinic.

(2) The term “rural health clinic” means a facility which—

(A) is primarily engaged in furnishing to outpatients services described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1);

(B) in the case of a facility which is not a physician-directed clinic, has an arrangement (consistent with the provisions of State and local law relative to the practice, performance, and delivery of health services) with one or more physicians (as defined in subsection (r)(1)) under which provision is made for the periodic review by such physicians of covered services furnished by physician assistants and nurse practitioners, the supervision and guidance by such physicians of physician assistants and nurse practitioners, the preparation by such physicians of such medical orders for care and treatment of clinic patients as may be necessary, and the availability of such physicians for such referral of and consultation for patients as is necessary and for advice and assistance in the management of medical emergencies; and, in the case of a physician-directed clinic, has one or more of its staff physicians perform the activities accomplished through such an arrangement;

(C) maintains clinical records on all patients;

(D) has arrangements with one or more hospitals, having agreements in effect under section 1866, for the referral and admission of patients requiring inpatient services or such diagnostic or other specialized services as are not available at the clinic;

(E) has written policies, which are developed with the advice of (and with provision for review of such policies from time to time by) a group of professional personnel, including one or more physicians and one or more physician assistants or nurse practitioners, to govern those services described in paragraph (1) which it furnishes;

(F) has a physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner responsible for the execution of policies described in subparagraph (E) and relating to the provision of the clinic’s services;

(G) directly provides routine diagnostic services, including clinical laboratory services, as prescribed in regulations by the Secretary, and has prompt access to additional diagnostic services from facilities meeting requirements under this title;

(H) in compliance with State and Federal law, has available for administering to patients of the clinic at least such drugs and biologicals as are determined by the Secretary to be necessary for the treatment of emergency cases (as defined in regulations) and has appropriate procedures or arrangements for storing, administering, and dispensing any drugs and biologicals;

(I) has a quality assessment and performance improvement program, and appropriate procedures for review of utilization of clinic services, as the Secretary may specify;

(J) has a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant, or a certified nurse-midwife (as defined in subsection (gg)) available to furnish patient care services not less than 50 percent of the time the clinic operates; and

(K) meets such other requirements as the Secretary may find necessary in the interest of the health and safety of the individuals who are furnished services by the clinic.

For the purposes of this title, such term includes only a facility which (i) is located in an area that is not an urbanized area (as defined by the Bureau of the Census) and in which there are insufficient numbers of needed health care practitioners (as determined by the Secretary), and that, within the previous 4-year period, has been designated by the chief executive officer of the State and certified by the Secretary as an area with a shortage of personal health services or designated by the Secretary either (I) as an area with a shortage of personal health services under section 330(b)(3) or 1302(7) of the Public Health Service Act, (II) as a health professional shortage area described in section 332(a)(1)(A) of that Act because of its shortage of primary medical care manpower, (III) as a high impact area described in section 329(a)(5) of that Act, of (IV) as an area which includes a population group which the Secretary determines has a health manpower shortage under section 332(a)(1)(B) of that Act, (ii) has filed an agreement with the Secretary by which it agrees not to charge any individual or other person for items or services for which such individual is entitled to have payment made under this title, except for the amount of any deductible or coinsurance amount imposed with respect to such items or services (not in excess of the amount customarily charged for such items and services by such clinic), pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of section 1833, (iii) employs a physician assistant or nurse practitioner, and (iv) is not a rehabilitation agency or a facility which is primarily for the care and treatment of mental diseases. A facility that is in operation and qualifies as a rural health clinic under this title or title XIX and that subsequently fails to satisfy the requirement of clause (i) shall be considered, for purposes of this title and title XIX, as still satisfying the requirement of such clause if it is determined, in accordance with criteria established by the Secretary in regulations, to be essential to the delivery of primary care services that would otherwise be unavailable in the geographic area served by the clinic. If a State agency has determined under section 1864(a) that a facility is a rural health clinic and the facility has applied to the Secretary for approval as such a clinic, the Secretary shall notify the facility of the Secretary’s approval or disapproval later than 60 days after the date of the State agency determination or the application (whichever is later).

(3) The term “Federally qualified health center services” means—

(A) services of the type described in subparagraphs (A) through (C) of paragraph (1) and preventive services (as defined in section 1861(ddd)(3)); and

(B) preventive primary health services that a center is required to provide under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act,

when furnished to an individual as an outpatient of a Federally qualified health center and, for this purpose, any reference to a rural health clinic or a physician described in paragraph (2)(B) is deemed a reference to a Federally qualified health center by the center or by a health care professional under contract with the center or a physician at the center, respectively.

(4) The term “Federally qualified health center” means an entity which—

(A)(i) is receiving a grant under section 330 of the Public Health Service Act, or

(ii)(I) is receiving funding from such a grant under a contract with the recipient of such a grant, and (II) meets the requirements to receive a grant under section 330 of such Act;

(B) based on the recommendation of the Health Resources and Services Administration within the Public Health Service, is determined by the Secretary to meet the requirements for receiving such a grant;

(C) was treated by the Secretary, for purposes of part B, as a comprehensive Federally funded health center as of January 1, 1990; or

(D) is an outpatient health program or facility operated by a tribe or tribal organization under the Indian Self-Determination Act or by an urban Indian organization receiving funds under title V of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

(5)(A) The term “physician assistant” and the term “nurse practitioner” mean, for purposes of this title, a physician assistant or nurse practitioner who performs such services as such individual is legally authorized to perform (in the State in which the individual performs such services) in accordance with State law (or the State regulatory mechanism provided by State law), and who meets such training, education, and experience requirements (or any combination thereof) as the Secretary may prescribe in regulations.

(B) The term “clinical nurse specialist” means, for purposes of this title, an individual who—

(i) is a registered nurse and is licensed to practice nursing in the State in which the clinical nurse specialist services are performed; and

(ii) holds a master’s degree in a defined clinical area of nursing from an accredited educational institution.

(6) The term “collaboration” means a process in which a nurse practitioner works with a physician to deliver health care services within the scope of the practitioner’s professional expertise, with medical direction and appropriate supervision as provided for in jointly developed guidelines or other mechanisms as defined by the law of the State in which the services are performed.

(7)(A) The Secretary shall waive for a 1-year period the requirements of paragraph (2) that a rural health clinic employ a physician assistant, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife or that such clinic require such providers to furnish services at least 50 percent of the time that the clinic operates for any facility that requests such waiver if the facility demonstrates that the facility has been unable, despite reasonable efforts, to hire a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or certified nurse-midwife in the previous 90-day period.

(B) The Secretary may not grant such a waiver under subparagraph (A) to a facility if the request for the waiver is made less than 6 months after the date of the expiration of any previous such waiver for the facility, or if the facility has not yet been determined to meet the requirements (including subparagraph (J) of the first sentence of paragraph (2)) of a rural health clinic.

(C) A waiver which is requested under this paragraph shall be deemed granted unless such request is denied by the Secretary within 60 days after the date such request is received.

NARHC Translation: Main section of the statute that defines RHC services and RHC facilities.