The Supreme Court of the United States declined to consider AHA’s lawsuit asking the court to reverse federal appeals court decisions that threaten continued access to care for hospital outpatients in need by making significant Medicare cuts to payments for health exams at off-site clinics.

AHA in May filed suit challenging the Department of Health and Human Services’ payment reductions in the 2019 outpatient payment rule for certain hospital outpatient off-campus provider-based departments. A lower court twice found that HHS exceeded its statutory authority when it reduced these payments. But, in July, a three-judge appeals panel reversed this decision.

In a statement, Melinda Hatton, AHA’s general counsel, said, “We are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the compelling arguments in our case on payment cuts for hospital outpatient visits. These cuts to hospital outpatient departments directly undercut the clear intent of Congress to protect them because of the many real and crucial differences between them and other sites of care. Hospital outpatient departments are held to higher regulatory standards and are often the only point of access for patients with the most severe chronic conditions, all of whom receive treatment regardless of ability to pay. While we are disappointed, we will continue to fight to ensure the ability of all hospitals and health systems to continue to provide the essential services and programs their patients and communities need to realize their highest potential for health.”
 

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