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D.C. Court Being Urged to Relinquish Part of The No Surprises Act

Analysis  |  By Amanda Norris  
   April 11, 2022

The AHA and AMA are pushing a court to put an end to the government's 'illegal interpretation' of a piece of the bill as soon as possible.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) urged the D.C. District Court to act as quickly as possible to vacate certain provisions they are challenging in the government’s interim final rule on surprise medical billing.

This, the AHA and AMA said, is because the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has yet to formalize a recent court order to strike down a piece of the arbitration process in the No Surprises Act.

For background, organizations have filed several lawsuits challenging how the HHS created an arbitration process for hospitals, doctors, and insurers to settle disputes over out-of-network medical bills under the No Surprises Act, which took effect January 1.

In February, a federal court in Texas ruled in favor of the Texas Medical Association and decided it was mistaken in its decision to instruct mediators to give past contracted rates between insurers and providers extra weight compared to other factors during the independent dispute resolution process.

"This decision is a major victory for patients and physicians. It is also a reminder that federal agencies must adopt regulations in accordance with the law," Diana Fite, MD, immediate past President of the Texas Medical Association said in a statement at the time.

The AHA and AMA are looking for more, though, as the groups have stressed that the court should not wait for HHS to issue a final rule before vacating these provisions.

HHS “have neither acquiesced to the decision of the Eastern District of Texas vacating portions of the September rule, nor suggested any intent to abandon their interpretation of the No Surprises Act in any final rule,” AHA and AMA said in a brief filed with the court.

“A decision from this court can put an end to the government’s illegal interpretation once and for all. As such, Plaintiffs respectfully ask the court to act as soon as practicable,” the AHA and AMA said.

Amanda Norris is the Revenue Cycle Editor for HealthLeaders.

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