America’s Essential Hospitals on Sept. 12 met with leadership at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to share concerns about a proposal that would cut Medicare Part B drug payments by 27 percent to hospitals participating in the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

The meeting came a day after the association submitted comments to the agency in response to the proposed annual update of the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS).

In both forums, the association strongly urged CMS to withdraw its proposal to reduce Part B drug payments for hospitals in the 340B program. America’s Essential Hospitals questioned CMS’ statutory authority to implement the proposed change and argued that the proposal would devastate essential hospitals and their patients.

In the comment letter, the association also recommended that CMS:

  • implement Section 603 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 consistent with the legislative text to minimize adverse effects on patient access;
  • continue to refine the Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting Program measure set so it contains only reliable, valid measures, and risk adjust for sociodemographic factors, including socioeconomic status;
  • mitigate concerns about the effect of removing total knee arthroplasty procedures from the inpatient only list on Medicare payment models;
  • ensure the Comprehensive Ambulatory Payment Classification policy does not disproportionately affect hospitals treating more diverse, clinically complex patients; and
  • work with providers to better understand the difference between services in the inpatient and outpatient settings before proposing to equalize payments across the two settings.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.