October 09, 2020
ASA and Physician Coalition Urge Changes to Rumored Surprise Medical Bill “Compromise”
Last week, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) joined more than a dozen other medical specialty groups in a message to Congress regarding ongoing conversations to address surprise medical bills. In the statement, the organizations confirm that physicians are concerned with a new, unreleased House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee proposal that favors the insurance industry over physicians and patients.
As the COVID-19 public health crisis persists, most physician practices have been stressed to unprecedented levels, and the statement explains that this would be the worst possible time to adopt lop-sided surprise billing legislation that further destabilizes physician practices, jeopardizes access to care, and erodes the physician safety net that patients need in an emergency.
In the statement, the organizations shared an understanding of the unreleased proposal summary, and instead offer recommendations, including:
- Protecting patients from surprise medical bills
- Not applying a median in-network payment rate as both the initial/interim payment and as a primary consideration for the arbiter
- Ensuring fair rates with a base payment year prior to December 31, 2018
- No artificial threshold or barrier for access dispute resolution for all instances when an insurer is paying unreasonable rates
- Adding language to direct an arbiter to give equal consideration of all IDR payment factors
- Access to an IDR process simultaneous to full implementation
- Holding insurance companies accountable for network adequacy.
ASA will continue to work to ensure Congress addresses surprise medical bills in a way that protects patients while providing a balanced solution that is fair to physician groups.
Read the full statement here