AHA, AAMC continue fight to reverse cuts for outpatient visits that threaten patient access to care
WASHINGTON, DC (July 24, 2020) – Today, the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) announced they will seek a rehearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in their lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over an ill-advised and unlawful payment reduction for off-campus hospital outpatient clinic visits. These cuts threaten access to care and hospitals’ and health systems’ ability to continue to meet the needs of their patients, especially those with the most complex needs and those in vulnerable communities.
“These illegal cuts directly undercut the clear intent of Congress to protect hospital outpatient departments because of the many real and crucial differences between them and other sites of care,” said the AHA and AAMC. “These 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. We look forward to a prompt rehearing of our case to overturn these unlawful cuts.”
The AHA and AAMC seek to overturn a recent decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that reversed a district court decision that found that HHS exceeded its statutory authority when it reduced payments for hospital outpatient services furnished in off-campus provider-based departments grandfathered under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The appeals court declined to strictly construe the statutory authority that binds the agency, unaccountably deferring to impermissible agency decisions.
The associations are joined in the suit by hospital plaintiffs: Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, Wash., Mercy Health in Muskegon, Mich., and York Hospital in York, Maine. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in December of 2018.