The AHA and American Medical Association yesterday urged the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to act as quickly as possible to hold unlawful and vacate all provisions they are challenging in the federal government’s interim final rule on surprise medical billing, which took effect in January. In February, a federal judge in Texas struck down certain parts of the rule related to the arbitration process for determining payment for services by out-of-network providers, saying they conflict with the text of the No Surprises Act.
“The Departments have neither acquiesced to the decision of the Eastern District of Texas vacating portions of the September Rule, nor suggested any intent to abandon their interpretation of the No Surprises Act in any final rule,” AHA and AMA said in a brief filed yesterday with the court. They said, “A decision from this Court can put an end to the government’s illegal interpretation once and for all. As such, Plaintiffs respectfully ask the Court to act as soon as practicable.”
The federal government yesterday told the court it anticipates issuing a final rule by early this summer, which is later than the May time period it had been expected.
The provision being challenged by AHA and AMA implicates the arbitration process for determining fair payment for services by out-of-network providers. The challenge will not prevent the law’s core patient protections from moving forward or increase out-of-pocket costs to patients.