The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that CMS had the authority to implement site-neutral payments for outpatient clinic visits at certain off-campus hospital facilities for 2019, reversing a lower court's ruling that had vacated the site-neutral payments, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia and Georgia.
- District of Columbia: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday ruled that CMS had the authority to implement site-neutral payments for outpatient clinic visits at certain off-campus hospital facilities for 2019, reversing a lower court's ruling that had vacated the site-neutral payments. The appeals court issued the ruling in a lawsuit filed by the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association of American Medical Colleges, and three independent health systems that claim the payment policy exceeds CMS' statutory authority, violates Congress' intent, and results in "serious reductions to Medicare payment rates" that could cause hospitals to eliminate services. AHA in a statement said upholding the policy "will cause serious harm to [hospitals' and health systems'] ability to provide care for patients" and "fails to account for the fundamental differences between hospital outpatient departments and other sites of care." The group added that it is "carefully reviewing the decision to determine [its] next steps" (Stein, Inside Health Policy, 7/17 [subscription required]; Cohrs, "Transformation Hub," Modern Healthcare, 7/17; King, FierceHealthcare, 7/17).
- District of Columbia: HHS on Friday announced it will distribute $10 billion to hospitals in coronavirus hot spots under the federal Provider Relief Fund, which Congress created earlier this year. HHS said hospitals that between Jan. 1 and June 10 had more than 161 admitted patients with Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, will receive $50,000 per admission (Reed, FierceHealthcare, 7/17; Cohrs, Modern Healthcare, 7/17).
- Georgia: CDC on Thursday announced that it is extending its ban on cruise ships in the United States, which was scheduled to expire on July 24. The ban is now scheduled to remain in place at least through the end of September. CDC Director Robert Redfield said the agency extended the ban because the cruise ship industry has yet to control the new coronavirus' spread on cruise ships (Associated Press, 7/16).