Las Vegas hospital will have to contract with Medicare, Medicaid by 2021

Elite Medical Center, a Las Vegas-based acute care hospital that some experts say is operating similarly to a 24/7 freestanding emergency room, has to contract with Medicare and Medicaid beginning in 2021, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Earlier this year, Nevada lawmakers passed a law that requires nearly all hospitals to contract with Medicare and Medicaid.

EMC is a state-licensed hospital and doesn't contract with any payers. It is an unaccredited hospital that has no agreements with insurers, meaning patients have to pay out-of-network prices for care. Under previous state law, EMC wasn't required to be accredited by CMS or accept public or private insurance.

Right now, the hospital absorbs the cost of any care it provides to Medicare and Medicaid patients, which lobbyists for the hospital say is cheaper than contracting with the government. Still, the CEO of EMC, Patty Holden, said the hospital may contract with the programs sooner. She also said she hopes to work with state lawmakers on the issue. 

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