The American Hospital Association urges the President-elect to avoid 'abrupt changes' to the ACA, to cancel Stage 3 of Meaningful Use, to standardize the M&A merger review process, and to reform the RAC program.
The American Hospital Association this week urged President-elect Donald Trump to avoid "abrupt changes" to the Affordable Care Act that could destabilize the healthcare sector.
The plea from AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack came near the end of a four-page wish list the hospital lobby sent this week to the president-elect, who has vowed to repeal Obamacare on his first day in office.
"Given that healthcare represents a significant portion of the economy and essential public services, we urge you not to make any abrupt changes that could lead to significant instability for patients, providers, insurers and others," Pollack told the president-elect.
"Currently, there is much uncertainty about the future, given discussions of repealing and replacing the ACA," he said. "We urge you to ensure that any repeal of portions of the ACA simultaneously include a replacement plan that continues to provide a mechanism for individuals to obtain affordable insurance coverage. In addition, providers' payments were reduced significantly to fund coverage expansion, and also should be reexamined as we debate the future of the ACA."
Pollack's letter highlighted five areas of concern for hospitals; reducing the regulatory burden; enhancing affordability and value; continuing to promote quality and patient safety; ensuring access to care and coverage; and continuing to advance healthcare system transformation and innovation.
"The regulatory burden faced by hospitals is substantial and unsustainable. We urge your Administration to modify or eliminate duplicative, excessive, antiquated and contradictory provider regulations," Pollack said. "Reducing the administrative complexity of healthcare would save billions of dollars annually and would allow providers to spend more time on patients, not paperwork."
The AHA wants the Trump administration to:
- Cancel Stage 3 of the meaningful use program so that hospitals will not be forced to spend large sums of money upgrading their electronic health records solely for the purpose of meeting regulatory requirements;
- Revise the Recovery Auditor Contractor contracts to incorporate a financial penalty for high rates of incorrect denials that lead to unnecessary appeals;
- Create safe harbors and waivers under the Anti-kickback statute to protect clinical integration arrangements and revise the "Stark law" to protect arrangements that meet the Anti-kickback safe harbor so that physicians and hospitals can work together to improve care;
- Standardize the federal merger review process between the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to better support hospital transformation;
- Eliminate outdated regulations that threaten access to post-acute care, such as the long-term care hospital "25% Rule" and the onerous home health agency pre-claim review demonstration project.