CMS Releases Final Site Neutral and 340B Rules

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has just finalized two rule proposals on site neutral payments and cuts to the 340B Program. 

In the final site neutral payments rule released this morning, CMS announced that it will reduce site neutral payments over two years. The original proposal phased in changes over one year. CMS believes the change will save Medicare $380 million in 2019.

Many offered criticism of the proposed rule when it was introduced, claiming it would hurt the care hospital outpatient departments provide to vulnerable beneficiaries. The Administration hopes that the move will increase competition and decrease payments.

"Today's rule advances competition by creating a level playing field for providers so they can compete for patients on the basis of quality and care," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. "The final policies remove unnecessary and inefficient payment differences so patients can have more affordable choices and options."

The rule also finalizes a CMS proposal to increase the types of providers in the 340B Drug Discount Program included in payment cuts for physician-administered drugs. NRHA is currently analyzing which providers will be included in the payment in otrder to estimate the impact on rural facilities. 

NRHA is continuing to review these two important regulations and will provide updated information. As CMS continues to release new rules, we hope that they will continue the commitment to rural patients and providers that they made with their rural strategy. Any regulation must take into consideration the specific rules and challenges facing rural providers and must provide certainty for the future of rural health care.

For our original comment letter, visit our Regulatory Comment Letters

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