Seema Verma talks surprise-billing, price transparency

CMS Administrator Seema Verma urged hospitals to "reject the status quo" and focus on moving to value-based payment as well as solving the healthcare problems that patients are struggling with.

Her comments came during a Sept. 10 American Hospital Association meeting in Washington, D.C., according to published remarks.

She said hospitals must choose between "two profoundly different paths for the future of our healthcare" — Medicare for All or a public option, or the Trump administration's approach of "moving to a system of competition and value."

She asked hospitals to consider that Americans are tired of rising healthcare costs, and many patients, even those who have insurance coverage, have experienced surprise out-of-network medical bills.

"This is simply not fair to patients," said Ms. Verma. "And we are learning the lengths to which certain not-for-profit hospitals go to collect the full list price from uninsured patients. These hospitals are referring patients to debt collectors, garnishing wages, placing liens on property and even suing patients into bankruptcy.

"This is unacceptable. Hospitals must be paid for their work, but it’s actions like these that have led to calls for a complete Washington takeover of the entire healthcare system," she added.

She also touted the administration's price transparency efforts, saying that President Donald Trump's executive order on the issue "makes it clear that patients should no longer be kept in the dark and they have the right to see and compare prices."

Read her full speech to hospitals here.   


More articles on healthcare finance: 

Massachusetts hospitals coding at higher acuity to increase pay, watchdog says
2 Mississippi hospitals spend millions a year to avoid treating serious trauma patients
How medical bills are affecting families with kids: 7 report findings

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