For months ACOEP has joined with other leaders in emergency medicine to lobby Congress to act with extreme caution when drafting legislation that could limit access to quality emergency medical care.
Therefore, we stand in support of H.R. 5826, Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2020, as introduced on February 10, 2020.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, H.R. 5826 “would establish patient protections from surprise medical billing and establish a process to resolve disputes between health care providers and insurers that are unable to reach agreement on payments for out-of-network health care. In determining the most reasonable rates, dispute resolution entities would be instructed to look to the health plan’s median payment rate for in-network rate care.”
While ACOEP does call for further improvements to the legislation, specifically surrounding mediation of physician-insurer negotiations, it does offer some protection against future legislation which would heavily favor insurers over physicians and patients.
ACOEP urges our members to contact your legislators and register your support of this proposal, suggesting improvements to make it a more patient-centric piece of legislation. These suggestions can include measures that would prevent a rate-setting impact from median in-network rates, as these can unintentionally expedite consolidation in the marketplace creating an extra barrier to care for patients, particularly those in rural areas. Further changes to the bill should include payments be made in a timely manner on out-of-network claims. These changes would go far to strengthen emergency medicine as America’s medical safety net.
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