From the desk of Scott London -
Below are several newsworthy updates from different healthcare areas.
Rural hospitals have been particularly hard hit by the ACA. National Rural Health Association Vice President of Government
Affairs said rural hospitals support the goals of the ACA, but they're struggling under the law. This group is worried that neither Republicans nor Democrats have done enough to stop what is called the “rural closure crisis.”
“The laudable goals of the Affordable Care Act were not achieved in rural America,” the group states. “Lack of plan competition in rural markets, exorbitant premiums and co-pays, and lack of Medicaid expansion, coupled with devastating Medicare cuts to rural providers collided to create a healthcare crisis in rural America.” -- John Wilkerson
In other news, The Health Resources and Services Administration finished a 340B rule that deals with setting prices under the drug discount program, finalizing the so called “penny pricing policy” opposed by drug makers and laying out a formula for drug manufacturers to use when estimating the 340B price of a new drug. The agency also said it will defer to the HHS Office of Inspector General to determine when manufacturers “knowingly and intentionally” charge 340B providers more than the ceiling price, and therefore are subject to penalties.
Another interesting news item is that HHS is asking a federal court to reconsider its order that the department reduce the Medicare appeals backlog at the Administrative Law Judge level every year and eliminate it by 2021, saying the mandate would compromise the Medicare trust fund by forcing CMS to pay claims that may have been appropriately denied just to empty the appeals queue. But the American Hospital Association says HHS is rehashing an older argument and shouldn't be allowed to do nothing to fix the problem, so the order should stand.
As always feel free to contact me about any pressing legislative issues.
Scott London, Esq.
Scott S. London
Attorney At Law
400 East Pratt Street, # 305
Baltimore, MD 21202
phone: 410 685-3737 / fax: 410 752-0465 / www.fredlondonlaw.com