Washington, D.C. (January 11, 2022)—The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) joined in filing an amicus brief supporting the lawsuit—led by the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association—that challenges the federal government’s implementation of the No Surprises Act. In the brief signed by nine national medical specialty organizations and 16 state medical societies (listed below), it warned that the regulations which took effect Jan. 1 “bluntly undercut” carefully crafted legislation and will greatly diminish patient access to care.
“It quite literally took an act of Congress and years of tireless advocacy to determine a fair solution to this problem that has been plaguing patients for years, only to have those efforts squandered by these reckless regulations,” said AAOS President Daniel K. Guy, MD, FAAOS. “In turning to legal action, we remain committed to protecting patients from the heavy-hand of insurers and ensuring that the imbalance of power in good faith negotiations over payment disputes is not further exacerbated.”
The amicus brief argues that regulators overstepped their rulemaking authority and acted directly in contrast to the statutory requirements and purpose of the No Surprises Act. It then details how the insurer-determined rate for out-of-network reimbursement will impact patient access to care and disrupt free market forces that have served to check health insurers’ overreach.
AAOS previously submitted formal comments to regulators in response to the Requirements Related to Surprise Billing Part II Interim Final Rule. Like in the amicus brief, it warned that unsustainable reimbursement–coupled with severe financial losses during the COVID pandemic—will only accelerate the significant financial pressures that have forced many physician practices to consolidate.
The brief concluded noting that research proves physician workforce consolidation raises prices and increases overall health care spending without clear indications of quality improvements. It also undermines choice and continuity of care, ultimately raising the out-of-pocket costs that must be borne by patients.
Groups joining the amicus brief led by the Physicians Advocacy Institute, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and Congress of Neurological Surgeons include the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, American Osteopathic Association, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, North American Spine Society, California Medical Association, Connecticut State Medical Society, Medical Association of Georgia, Illinois State Medical Society, Kentucky Medical Association, Massachusetts Medical Society, Michigan State Medical Society, Nebraska Medical Association, Medical Society of New Jersey, Medical Society of the State of New York, North Carolina Medical Society, Oregon Medical Association, South Carolina Medical Association, Tennessee Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, and the Washington State Medical Association.
Read the amicus brief here:
Read AAOS’ full comment letter on the IFC here: https://www.aaos.org/globalassets/advocacy/issues/surprise-billing-part-ii-letter-aaos_final.pdf
About the AAOS
Representing more than 39,000 members, including Orthopaedic Surgeons and allied health care professionals in the musculoskeletal medicine specialty, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) promotes and advocates the viewpoint of the orthopaedic community before federal and state legislative, regulatory, and executive agencies. On behalf of its members, AAOS identifies, analyzes, and directs all health policy activities and initiatives to position the AAOS as the trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal health.
For more information on all AAOS advocacy efforts, visit http://www.aaos.org/dc.
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