Supreme Court won’t hear site-neutral payment case

The High Court declined to hear a challenge the American Hospital Association’s appeal.

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) appeal in a lawsuit challenging the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services to impose site-neutral payments.

The rule requires hospital outpatient off-campus departments to receive the same reimbursements as independent physician offices for services given to Medicare patients. The AHA has said that the rule will harm patients because those seen at these hospital-owned of campus departments are more likely to be from lower income areas, suffering from more severe chronic conditions, and previously hospitalized.

The original case contended that HHS’ actions fell outside of the agency’s statutory authority, which was accepted by the district court which heard the arguments. The U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia reversed that judgment July 17. The AHA and its fellow plaintiffs are hoping the high court will back their challenge which could toss out the rule.

Last month, HHS filed its response to the to the AHA’s petition. With the Supreme Court’s decision the case is ended and the rule will remain in place.