Hospital Outpatient Department Regulations Limit Access to Care

Final Rule Insufficient but Makes Progress

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement on the provisions regarding hospital outpatient departments (HOPD) included in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) final rule:

“Off-campus hospital outpatient departments are an important resource for the communities they serve, allowing medical schools and teaching hospitals to provide care that may not be available elsewhere. We appreciate that CMS acknowledged our argument that affected outpatient departments must receive a separate facility payment in 2017 for outpatient services, as well as payments for newly added items and services. However, we remain disappointed that hospitals will be penalized if they relocate their outpatient departments to better serve their communities. This runs counter to congressional intent and severely limits access to care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable patients.

The AAMC urges Congress to correct these flaws and provide for more flexibility in off-campus HOPD reimbursement when the House and Senate return for the lame-duck session. Failure to act could mean teaching hospitals are not able to fulfil their patient care and training missions, which would prevent patients from receiving the care they need.” 

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.