'Much more must be done': AHA wants updates to CMS' proposed outpatient rule

In a Sept. 8 letter to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the AHA voiced its concern about the 2024 proposed hospital outpatient market basket update, arguing that it does not reflect the "unprecedented inflationary environment or the other persistent financial headwinds hospitals and health systems are experiencing."

The AHA urged CMS to identify ways to account for these increased costs to ensure Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to quality outpatient care. 

"We also urge the agency to reduce the productivity cut for [calendar year] 2024 as such a cut does not align with hospital and health systems' public health emergency experiences related to actual losses in productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic," the AHA wrote. 

The AHA also said that it looks forward to working with CMS to improve the hospital price transparency rule — especially as it relates to better aligning these requirements with the Healthcare Transparency in Coverage Rule and No Surprises Act requirements.

The hospital group also raised concerns about the agency's proposed policy to make separate payments under the inpatient rule — and potentially under the outpatient rule — for the additional costs hospitals face in maintaining access to a buffer stock of domestically manufactured essential drugs. 

"While the AHA strongly agrees that it is necessary to support practices that can curtail shortages, we also continue to believe that much more must be done in addressing these concerns," the AHA wrote.

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