Olympic Medical Center will sue HHS over payment cuts, consider ASC 'in the future' — 6 takeaways

Port Angeles, Wash.-based Olympic Medical Center decided to join the American Hospital Association's lawsuit against HHS over Medicare reimbursement cuts for off-site clinics, the Peninsula Daily News reports.

Here's what you should know:

1. The hospital's board of commissioners unanimously decided Nov. 7 to join the lawsuit, which could be filed as early as Nov. 9. AHA will cover litigation costs.

2. Four hospitals including OMC are named as plaintiffs in the suit. The suit would allege CMS acted outside the scope of its authority by reversing a law Congress passed, which grandfathered in off-site clinics.

3. CMS approved cutting 60 percent of payments for visits to hospital outpatient facilities more than 250 yards from the main hospital.

The reductions will be implemented in phases. The final rule could reduce OMC's reimbursement by about $1.7 million in 2019 and another $1.7 million in 2020. OMC's drop in reimbursement could amount to about $47 million over a decade.

4. A federal judge could file an injunction against CMS to delay the payment cuts until the lawsuit is settled, according to Olympic Medical Center Chief Human Resources Officer Jennifer Burkhardt.

5. OMC was planning a $15 million campus expansion in 2019, but development might be spread over several years as a result of cuts the hospital will have to make after CMS reduces funding.

6. The hospital will likely move forward with a planned cancer center expansion, but projects such an ASC will be considered in the future, according to CEO Eric Lewis. OMC will scale back equipment purchases and hiring, but jobs would be the last thing cut, he said.

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