Hospital leaders earlier this week came to Washington for an AHA-hosted Advocacy Day briefing that laid the groundwork for meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Front and center in those talks were our concerns about stopping the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from moving forward with proposed regulations implementing “site-neutral” payment for new off-campus provider-based outpatient departments. We want Congress to press the agency for both flexibility and a more accurate interpretation in how it applies those provisions from last year’s Bipartisan Budget Act. We’re encouraged that four of our champions on this issue, Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY), are poised to take action. They are asking their Senate and House colleagues to join them in sending CMS a letter that expresses disappointment with its failure to heed previous congressional requests in following legislative intent. Their letters will make the case for regulations that protect patients’ access to care and provide fairer payment and more predictability for hospitals. Our champions also recognize that these regulations are a step in the direction of clinical “disintegration” at a time when we must seek clinically integrated care models that promote coordination and continuity in services. At the same time, we’re also pushing separate legislation – that has already passed the House – that would extend the effective date to grandfather new facilities that were under development to retain their existing provider-based status. Please urge your legislators to sign the Senate and House letters. We need your help in carrying the message: these facilities provide access for many people who have no other options, and will also make care more convenient to where patients live and work.  

 

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