The American Hospital Association, along with several other organizations, filed an urgency motion to prevent the Department of Health and Human Services pricing transparency rule from going into effect on Jan. 1. The rule dictates that every hospital operating in the US must provide public pricing information, including the prices they negotiate with commercial health insurers.
Last week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid released a bulletin announcing their plans to test a sample of hospitals for compliance from January onwards.
Hospital groups filed the emergency request on Monday in response to the bulletin, arguing that enforcement of the rule will “force congested hospitals to divert resources that hospitals urgently need to respond to the surge in Covid-19 cases”.
When the rule goes into effect in the next month, hospitals will have to devote time to compliance rather than focusing on other pressing issues, including expanding bed capacity, planning the launch of the vaccine, and meeting requirements to report Viruses, the groups argue in the U.S. appeals court filing for the District of Columbia Circuit.
“Whatever the public’s interest in hospital price transparency, it pales in comparison to the immediate public interest in responding effectively to coronavirus,” the emergency motion reads.
In addition, there is a lack of clarity about how the requirements of the price transparency rule are to be implemented, according to the hospital groups.
There are fines for not following the rule. Failure to comply may cause CMS to issue a warning, request a corrective action plan, or impose a $ 300 per day penalty if the hospital fails to provide the action plan or fail to meet its requirements.
The organizations that filed the motion, including the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the Memorial Community Hospital & Health System in Blair, Nebraska, are calling on the court to intervene by December 31st to enforce usually block.
The transparency transparency rule for hospitals was finalized in November 2019 and requires hospitals to provide price information online about the items and services they offer in two ways: as a comprehensive machine-readable file and as a consumer-friendly display of the services that can be purchased.
The American Hospital Association and other hospital groups filed a lawsuit against the rule when it was completed, but a federal judge ruled against it earlier this year. The hospital groups appealed and a jury of appeal judges heard oral submissions in October, according to Healthcare Dive. The appellate judges have not yet made a final decision.
The American Hospital Association has also sent a letter to the new administration of President-Elect Joe Biden asking them to “exercise discretion in enforcement” on the hospital price transparency rule.
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