FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals
WASHINGTON—We are disappointed by the administration’s decisions in today’s Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) proposed rule to stand by its predecessor’s bad policy on Part B drug payments and to continue damaging cuts to outpatient care—choices that jeopardize health care access for marginalized patients.
The ill-conceived cut to hospitals in the 340B Drug Pricing Program ignores congressional intent for the program, undermines savings for hospitals that operate with little or no margin, and jeopardizes access to care in underserved communities. This policy, coupled with continued cuts to outpatient clinics, would drain essential hospitals of vital resources as they continue to combat a worsening COVID-19 pandemic.
Rather than maintain these cuts, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should immediately rescind these deeply damaging policies and work with essential hospitals to ensure they can meet their safety-net mission.
We also are disappointed the administration chose to harden its stance on price transparency, especially given the hospital industry’s good-faith efforts to build consensus on measures that protect consumers. More stringent penalties for noncompliance with rules whose potential effects even the administration cannot quantify is the wrong direction for this policy. Further, as the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency strains providers, the agency’s price transparency proposals, including a baseless increase in penalty amounts for noncompliant hospitals that targets hospitals with higher bed counts, would burden a workforce already under immense pressure.
We do appreciate CMS’ continuing work to address health equity and its proposals for the inpatient-only (IPO) list. Along with physician judgment, the IPO list serves as an important tool to indicate which services are appropriate to furnish in the outpatient setting. We welcome the agency’s proposals to halt the elimination of the IPO list and to take a more transparent and thoughtful approach that ensures patient safety is maintained and avoids added complexity for providers.
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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at essentialhospitals.org.