31 Jul OMC Joins in Continued Fight to Reverse Cuts for Outpatient Visits
OMC Joins in Continued Fight to Reverse Cuts for Outpatient Visits
PORT ANGELES (July 31, 2020) – The American Hospital Association (AHA) and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), along with fellow plaintiffs Olympic Medical Center, Mercy Health in Muskegon, Mich. and York Hospital in York, Maine, seek to overturn a recent decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that reversed a district court decision finding that the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) exceed its statutory authority when it reduced payments for hospital outpatient services furnished in off-campus provider-based departments.
In a joint press release on July 24, the AHA and AAMC stated, “These illegal cuts directly undercut the clear intent of Congress to protect hospital outpatient departments because of the many real and crucial differences between them and other sites of care. These hospital outpatient departments are held to higher regulatory standards and are often the only point of access for patients with the most severe chronic conditions, all of whom receive treatment regardless of ability to pay. We look forward to a prompt rehearing of our case to overturn these unlawful cuts.”
Darryl Wolfe, chief executive officer, Olympic Medical Center, noted: “The reductions in Medicare reimbursement resulted in an approximately $1.7 million cut in reimbursement in 2019, and we anticipate it will be up to $3.4 million in 2020.”
Olympic Medical Center factored in the 60% cuts when planning the 2020 budget. “We planned our budget, assuming we’d earn $3.4 million less in 2020,” says Wolfe. “But these cuts over time may significantly impact our ability to bring needed medical services to our community and expand current services.”
“We are hopeful the decision is overturned,” says Wolfe. “With that said, we’re already looking at our strategy in 2021 to work with our elected officials to secure reliable and adequate government funding for rural health care.”