The Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Rule was passed in November 2018, which was intended to prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from paying more for services rendered in outpatient settings than what they paid for the same services rendered in physician offices that are simply owned by hospitals or health systems.1
The Rule set payment rates for these services at "excepted" off-campus provider-based departments (those facilities that were excepted from reimbursement reductions under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015) at the same rate for non-excepted provider-based departments (PBDs) pursuant to the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). However, in 2019, the reimbursement rate for services at these excepted facilities was set at 70%, and in 2020, just 40%.2
The American Hospital Association (AHA) then sued CMS in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2019 over the reimbursement reductions, and the Court ruled in favor of the AHA. As a result of the decision, CMS reprocessed the 2019 claims at the full 100% rate.3
In 2020, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed the district court's decision. Pursuant to the reversal, starting November 1, 2021, CMS will once again begin reprocessing claims at excepted PBDs for outpatient claims to ensure that the services are reimbursed at the 70% rate for services rendered between January 1, 2019, and December 31, 2019.4
As a result, excepted PBD providers will now have to refund the difference in coinsurance either to patients or insurers who paid an increased amount in cost-sharing when reimbursement was set at 100%, to reflect the reduction.5
CMS notes that providers do not need to take any other action as they reprocess claims.6 But providers should be aware of this reprocessing.
1 CMS, Outpatient Clinic Visit Services at Excepted Off-Campus Provider-Based Departments: Payment Update, (Sept. 9, 2021) https://www.cms.gov/outreach-and-educationoutreachffsprovpartprogprovider-partnership-email-archive/2021-09-09-mlnc#_Toc82072549.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.