The AHA has again asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to delay implementing the site-neutral provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act next Jan. 1, citing potential risk for hospitals to violate the Stark law and Anti-Kickback statute.
Under the site-neutral rule, CMS would pay for services rendered in hospital outpatient departments at the same, lower rate it pays for treatment in physicians’ offices. The proposal has engendered controversy since its announcement, with physicians and hospitals taking opposing views.
The AHA now has further ammunition in its push to delay the rule’s implementation. Parts of the rule would apparently make hospitals vulnerable to punishment under laws restricting hospitals’ provisions of free goods or services to referring physicians.
The AHA analysis concludes that hospitals could unfairly suffer by bearing the extra cost of operating their outpatient departments at ”no cost to physicians.”
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