Judge denies hospitals’ request to strike down CMS site-neutral policy

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A federal judge on Monday denied hospitals’ request to enforce a ruling that struck down the Trump administration’s plan to enact site-neutral payments for doctor’s visits.

The CMS is pressing forward with the payment changes in 2020 even though a federal judge ruled against the policy in September because it wasn’t budget-neutral.

The American Hospital Association, which spearheaded the request, argued that planned 2020 payment cuts for some hospital clinic visits are illegal because the move is a continuation of a policy that U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer threw out. Hospitals asked her to enforce her decision before the 2020 outpatient prospective payment system takes effect on Jan. 1.

Collyer ruled Monday that the court does not have jurisdiction to stop a continuation of the cuts in 2020.

“As a technical matter, the government correctly argues that the Court’s previous order was limited only to the 2019 Final Rule,” Collyer wrote.

The CMS appealed Collyer’s ruling against its 2019 payments on Dec. 12, but agreed to repay hospitals for doctor’s visits in 2019.

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