Hospitals say site-neutral insurance policies might value well being methods billions

Hospitals say site-neutral insurance policies might value well being methods billions

Hospitals are pushing towards proposals to vary Medicare cost insurance policies for some outpatient providers, whilst Congress appears to precise extra curiosity.

Some members in Congress have expressed rising curiosity in site-neutral insurance policies. Hospitals say such insurance policies might value them billions. (Picture credit score: ©Pierrette Guertin –

Hospitals and well being methods might lose billions of {dollars} in “site-neutral” funding policiesbased on a brand new report from the American Hospital Affiliation launched Monday.

Some members of Congress have floated the prospect of lowering Medicare cost for hospital outpatient providers, arguing that some doctor workplaces and ambulatory surgical facilities are providing comparable providers and obtain decrease reimbursements.

Hospitals say site-neutral insurance policies are misguided and will deal one other monetary blow to well being methods at a time once they can’t afford it. Hospitals are facing serious financial difficulties as they face larger prices and labor shortages.

The American Hospital Affiliation contends {that a} proposal to shift to site-neutral funds for some providers in ambulatory settings, beginning in 2026, would value hospitals $11.6 billion within the first 12 months and $180.6 billion over 10 years.

Well being methods argue that site-neutral proposals stem from the defective premise that hospitals are being overpaid by Medicare, the hospital affiliation says. Hospitals say Medicare isn’t paying sufficient for the outpatient providers they supply.

“The federal authorities considerably underpays hospitals for outpatient providers, leading to constant damaging Medicare margins – a staggering damaging 17.5% in 2021,” the AHA report acknowledged.

The report acknowledges that Medicare reimbursement charges for hospital outpatient serivces rose 7.2% between 2019 and 2022, however the AHA says hospital prices rose 17.5% in that very same span.

The hospital affiliation additionally argues that hospitals usually tend to deal with sufferers with extra severe well being points and require extra complicated care.

Hospital outpatient departments “are twice as seemingly to offer care to sufferers who’re dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid,” the AHA report states.

As well as, hospital outpatient departments, since they’re linked to hospitals, face totally different regulatory calls for, together with the necessity to have around-the-clock standby capability for emergencies and better emergency remedy necessities.

Some lawmakers are wary of increasing healthcare consolidation and are pointing to the necessity for site-neutral insurance policies to discourage hospitals from buying practices.

In response, the AHA says hospitals haven’t been the chief within the acquisition of doctor practices. Private equity groups have acquired the majority of physician practices up to now 5 years, adopted by doctor teams and well being insurers, the AHA stated in a separate report issued Monday.

“Personal fairness entities account for the overwhelming majority of doctor apply acquisition offers, in addition to the most important variety of particular person suppliers which are part of the deal, based on an AHA evaluation of Levin Associates knowledge,” the AHA stated.

Some lawmakers are backing site-neutral insurance policies. U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington state, offered support for the idea at a House subcommittee hearing in April.

“Sufferers and Medicare pay extra at hospitals than outpatient facilities or doctor workplaces for a similar providers,” McMorris Rodgers stated on the listening to. “A number of proposals would advance ‘site-neutral funds’ for sure providers that may be routinely completed safely in a physician’s workplace, akin to drug administration, diagnostic checks, imaging procedures, to call a couple of.

“For these providers, Medicare and sufferers would pay the identical quantity, no matter the place they’re carried out,” she stated.

A number of advocacy teams are  urgent Congress to advance site-neutral insurance policies.

The Alliance for Web site Impartial Fee Reform, which incorporates America’s Well being Insurance coverage Plans, Blue Cross Blue Defend Affiliation, the American Academy of Household Physicians, and the US Oncology Community, is asking on lawmakers to scale back Medicare funds to outpatient departments

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