In a comment letter
submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Sept. 17, WHA expressed continued concerns about CMS’s proposed cuts to 340B hospitals and hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) in the proposed calendar year (CY) 2022 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment (OPPS) rule. Among other comments, WHA voiced opposition to increasing fines related to the Hospital Price Transparency Rule and expressed strong support for CMS continuing telehealth-related flexibilities granted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In keeping with policies established over the last few outpatient rules, CMS mentioned it would be continuing its policy of paying lower reimbursements for 340B outpatient drugs and for hospital clinic visit services performed at off-campus hospital outpatient departments. WHA expressed its continued opposition to these cuts, given how payment cuts impact the ability of hospitals to offer needed service lines that often run at a loss. Furthermore, WHA noted that the U.S. Supreme Court is currently reviewing the American Hospital Association lawsuit challenging the cuts to the 340B program and advised that CMS should at the very least pause these cuts until a decision is announced.
WHA offered strong comments against the proposal by CMS to increase fines by 1,700% on hospitals that CMS finds to be in violation of its Hospital Price Transparency Rule. Given the strong track record Wisconsin hospitals have in promoting price transparency and significant strides hospitals have made in increasing cost information available to consumers, WHA encouraged CMS to take a more collaborative approach. For instance, it makes no sense for CMS to respond to health insurers concerns about complying with the Transparency in Coverage Rule by delaying its effective date, but then respond to similar concerns from hospitals by increasing their fines.
CMS also asked for feedback about whether it should continue some of the technology-related flexibilities first granted during the COVID-19 pandemic once the public health emergency ends. WHA offered its strong endorsement of continuing these flexibilities, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has offered proof-of-concept that such flexibilities providers have long requested can be effectively and safely utilized to improve care delivery for Medicare patients. Specifically, WHA strongly encouraged CMS to continue allowing mental health services to be aided by technology and allowing direct supervision to be performed remotely.
For more information, read WHA's full comment letter
or contact WHA Vice President of Federal and State Relations Jon Hoelter.