Publishing Hospital Prices: Did you know that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is considering raising the fines for hospitals that fail to comply with price transparency requirements? By January 1, 2021, hospitals were required to publish price data about their services online, either in a machine-readable file or a list of services in a consumer-friendly format. By the midpoint of the year, one study indicated that only 60% of hospitals had attempted to post the required information, and the quality and the usability of the data provided varied wildly among that group. While CMS has the authority to fine hospitals that have not complied, so far CMS has only issued warning letters. As some hospital executives have hinted that paying fines would be more cost effective than compiling and sharing the data, CMS is considering increasing the amount of the fines to up to $5,500 per day for large hospitals to dissuade hospitals from ignoring the requirements.
Remaining Telehealth Restrictions: Did you know that some restrictions remain in place for telehealth? While many requirements were relaxed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and additional flexibilities were permanently adopted by state legislatures, there are still requirements providers must meet before offering or continuing this service. For example, most states have ended emergency orders that allowed for widespread out-of-state practice and have resumed requiring an out-of-state provider to be licensed by the appropriate licensing board in the state where the patient is located prior to providing services via telehealth. Additionally, while some supervision of support staff could be conducted remotely, in-person supervision requirements still exist for some roles on a state-by-state basis. For example, there are currently no plans to allow for remote supervision of a physical therapy aid in Maryland. A physical therapist still must be present within the treatment area to provide supervision.
Alexandria K. Montanio
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