AHA urges CMS to delay site-neutral payment policy

The American Hospital Association urged CMS to delay implementing the site-neutral payment provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 in a comment submitted on the Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule for 2017.

Under the proposed rule, CMS would implement the site-neutral payment provisions of Section 603 of the Bipartisan Budget Act, which states off-campus provider-based departments that began billing under the OPPS on or after Nov. 2, 2015 would no longer be paid for most services under the OPPS. Instead, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, these facilities would be paid under applicable Medicare Part B payment systems.

In its comment on the proposed rule, the AHA expressed its disappointment with CMS' proposal.

"The hospital field and more than half of the U.S. House and Senate this spring urged CMS to provide reasonable flexibility when implementing the BiBA site-neutral provisions in order to ensure that Medicare patients have continued access to the highest quality hospital outpatient care in their communities," wrote AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. "Instead, CMS has proposed a short-sighted and unworkable set of policies that provide no reimbursement directly to hospitals in [calendar year] 2017 for the services they provide to Medicare beneficiaries."

The AHA urged CMS to delay implementing the site-neutral provisions until CMS can provide "fair and equitable payment" to hospitals that are subject to the payment provisions.

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