The AMCNO Joins Lawsuit to Stop Law Requiring Price Disclosures

The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio (AMCNO) physician leadership have agreed to join a lawsuit with the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) and other healthcare groups to stop a complex law that would demand price disclosures before medical services and procedures could be provided to patients.  

The lawsuit, which was initiated by the OHA, would block a new statute that was supposed to start on Jan. 1, on the grounds that it is an impractical mandate on physicians and healthcare systems and would create a disruption in medical care for patients. This flawed law creates confusion for hospitals and physicians who could be subject to complaints for non-compliance of the law and who are concerned about delays in patient care if the law were to become effective. 

In late December, Williams County Common Pleas Court Judge J.T. Stelzer issued a 30-day restraining order blocking the law from taking effect. A hearing on this matter should take place in the near future. 

State Rep. Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) authored and sponsored the law, which was added at the last minute to a Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budget bill in June 2015.  This was a very broad healthcare price transparency law that required all healthcare providers to provide certain price information to patients, prior to the delivery of services. Providers cannot access this information and the law will result in delays in patient care. 

Since then, healthcare organizations from across the state have attempted to work with Rep. Butler and other legislators to simplify the language to make the intent of the price transparency law reasonable and practical for healthcare providers and patients. Unfortunately, the discussions were not successful and no agreement was reached so this complaint was filed in order to protect providers from violating the law, being subject to private litigation, running afoul of Medicare requirements, and other types of harm. 

Despite the law’s requirement that regulations be passed by the Ohio Department of Medicaid to implement the law, no regulations have been created to clarify the law and assist providers in knowing how to implement the law. With no standards in place, patients will receive conflicting and confusing information from providers. 

In addition, the cost for medical procedures often varies based upon a patients’ health insurance coverage and the information is not always readily available, which would create delays in delivering medical assistance.

The AMCNO and healthcare associations around the state are committed to price transparency and to continuing to work with legislators to develop price transparency policies that would yield meaningful information for patients. 

The AMCNO will continue to provide updates on this issue to our members.

The Pollen Line is now closed. See you in the spring!

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