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May 24, 2024

Washington Roundup

  • Health Affairs Forefront brings us up to date on No Surprises Act developments. Of note,
    • “On April 23, 2024, the Administration released a status update on implementation of the [Advanced Explanation of Benefits] AEOB requirement. The update included a summary of a September 2022 Request for Information (RFI), through which the Administration had sought recommendations on how to exchange data between payers and providers. The Administration received feedback on patient privacy concerns, how surprise billing protections should be represented in the AEOB, exemptions for small and rural providers, and support for underserved and marginalized populations. Most comments also advocated the testing of data standards in real-world settings prior to a national rollout of standards for the data exchange. 
    • “In addition to the RFI, HHS explained that it had studied the needs and capabilities of providers, payers, and third-party vendors such as electronic health records vendors, clearinghouses, and standards development organizations. HHS investigated different kinds of providers and payers to understand existing claims processes, communications channels, and potential financial and operational constraints. Digital service researchers recommended that the Administration propose a single data exchange standard for the receipt of [Good Faith Estimates] GFEs by payers and the transmission of AEOBs from payers to patients to implement those provisions efficiently. * * *
    • “Lastly, the Administration reported that it is “exploring opportunities to promote real-world testing of the implementation guide” being developed by a cost transparency workgroup. HHS emphasized the importance of working with industry partners “to implement an efficient process for creating meaningful protections for patients from unexpected medical bills.”
  • The American Hospital News informs us,
    • “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services May 21 announced that individuals now have the option to file an Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act complaint directly with the agency, in addition to the traditional process of contacting state survey agencies. The new form is the latest in a series of new resources from CMS to help educate the public about EMTALA.” 
  • Healthcare Dive reports,
    • “The Senate Finance Committee is considering policies to create more stability in Medicare payments for doctors, an update cheered by physician groups that have long lobbied for reforming how the insurance program reimburses clinicians.
    • “Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, released the white paper on Friday proposing Medicare adjust payments to account for inflation, a key goal for physicians that argue government reimbursement hasn’t kept pace with rising costs.
    • “The Senate Finance Committee is also interested in exploring ways to use incentives to increase provider participation in alternative payment models, and potential changes to Medicare’s budget neutrality requirements, which require the CMS to cut payment to certain specialties to raise it for others.”
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