Effective January 1, 2022, common prohibitions against “balance billing” under hospital professional service contracts will likely become moot due to certain superseding federal prohibitions under the federal No Surprises Act enacted December 27, 2020. As detailed below, certain hospital-based physicians, including radiologists, anesthesiologists, and pathologists, should keep these new federal billing prohibitions in mind when entering into new hospital professional services agreements (“PSAs”) and revisit their existing agreements to determine whether any changes are appropriate.
“No Surprises Act” Background.
The federal government’s growing focus on surprise medical bills reached a new high on July 1, 2021, when the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS“), along with the Department of Labor and Department of the Treasury, released a consumer-focused interim final rule with comment period taking aim at surprise billing and excessive cost-sharing practices. The rule, which also cites an ineffective “patchwork” of consumer protections under existing state laws, represents the first implementing regulation under the No Surprises Act. Both the rule and the statute become effective on or after January 1, 2022.
Balance Billing Prohibition.
This article discusses two distinct but interwoven billing procedures that deserve clarification: “surprise billing” and “balance billing.”Continue Reading No Surprises Act: Time to revisit balance billing prohibitions in hospital-based physician professional services agreements with hospitals?