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Ohio House Passes Bill 388 Including Out-of-Network Reimbursement Requirements

On May 20, 2020, the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 388, which would enact five new Ohio Revised Code sections regarding out-of-network care and reimbursement. Sponsored by Representative Adam Holes – District 97 – House Bill 388 would require a health plan issuer to reimburse the following: 

  • An out-of-network provider for unanticipated out-of-network care provided at an in-network facility. 
  • An out-of-network provider or emergency facility for emergency services provided at an out-of-network emergency facility. 
  • An out-of-network ambulance for emergency services provided in an out-of-network ambulance. 
  • An out-of-network provider or facility for clinical laboratory services provided in connection with unanticipated out-of-network care or emergency services. 

As used above, "unanticipated out-of-network care" means health care services, including clinical laboratory services, that are covered under a health benefit plan and that are provided by an out-of-network provider when either of the following conditions applies: (1) the covered person did not have the ability to request such services from an in-network provider; or (2) the services provided were emergency services.

In addition to the above requirements, House Bill 388 also sets forth the following: 

  • Prohibits a provider, facility, emergency facility, or ambulance from balance billing a patient for unanticipated or emergency care when that care is provided in Ohio. 
  • Provides that a covered person’s cost-sharing responsibility for the services described above cannot be greater than if the services were provided in network. 
  • Establishes the default reimbursement rate as the greatest of the in-network rate, the out-of-network rate, or the Medicare rate and establishes procedures by which payees (providers, facilities, emergency facilities, and ambulances) may seek to negotiate the reimbursement in lieu of the default reimbursement rate. 
  • Permits certain payees to seek arbitration if negotiation is unsuccessful, and establishes criteria to be eligible for arbitration, and establishes procedures for the conduct of the arbitration. (Requires the Superintendent of Insurance to select an arbitration entity to conduct arbitrations under the bill using specified criteria). 
  • Requires a provider to disclose certain information to patients regarding the cost of out-of-network services that are not unanticipated out-of-network care or emergency services. 

The requirements found in House Bill 388 would be effective nine months following the bill’s effective date. Any payee or issuer in violation of these requirements would face disciplinary actions and/or penalties. The bill now continues the rule making path and will be debated and voted on by the Ohio Senate.

Please contact a BMD healthcare attorney if you have any questions regarding House Bill 388, any other reimbursement question, or other general healthcare questions.

Ohio Supreme Court Clarifies Medical Statute of Limitations

The Ohio Supreme Court issued a decision in late December that clarifies and finalizes the Ohio law regarding the period of time in which patients can assert claims for medical malpractice. The Court was examining the interplay between three different statutes being the statute of limitations, the statute of repose, and the savings statute.

Ohio Hospitals and Healthcare Clinics: It’s Time to Revisit Your Billing and Collection Practices

According to a recent Cuyahoga County case, certain healthcare entities may not be protected from liability when engaging in unfair or deceptive billing acts. This decision is consistent with the growing trend across the country to encourage price transparency and eliminate unfair surprise billing practices by health care organizations. Now is the time for hospitals and other health care organizations to revisit their billing and collection policies and procedures to confirm that they are legally defensible and consistent with best practices.

HIPAA Business Associate Agreements: Why These Contracts Matter

No one loves drafting, reading or negotiating HIPAA Business Associate Agreements (BAAs). Yet many of us need to do so, and some of us do so daily. They are often boring, dense and technical, but BAAs are important from both a legal and a business perspective, and they deserve our attention. Failure to enter a BAA when one is required can constitute a HIPAA violation that results in substantial liability, as demonstrated by certain recent Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) settlements.1 A business associate who makes a disclosure that is not authorized by the applicable BAA or required by law can be subject to civil and, in some cases, criminal penalties. Further, parties are often presented with BAAs that contain onerous one-sided indemnification and other provisions that can be devasting to an organization in the event of a HIPAA breach. The significance of a BAA is often not fully understood by the parties until something goes wrong (e.g., a HIPAA security incident or breach, an Office of Civil Rights (OCR) audit or a fracture in the relationship between the parties) and, at that point, there is limited opportunity to mitigate legal and business risk. Ideally, attention should be given at the commencement of the business associate relationship, when the parties are able, to thoughtfully addressing regulatory requirements, planning and preparing for potential adverse events and appropriately allocating risk among the parties. As with most healthcare regulatory compliance initiatives, a proactive approach with respect to BAAs is preferable. This article provides a broad overview of certain BAA requirements and some practical negotiating tips for the parties involved.

“I’m Out Of Here!” Now What?

We all know that the healthcare industry is experiencing a wave of integration. This trend has been evident for many years. Fewer physicians are willing to assume the legal, financial and other business risks associated with owning their own practices. More and more physicians, including anesthesiologists, are becoming employed by large physician groups, health systems and national providers. This shift necessarily involves not only entry into new employment arrangements but also the termination of existing relationships. And those terminations are often governed by written employment agreements, state and federal healthcare laws and employer benefit plans and other policies and procedures. Before pursuing their next opportunity, physicians should pause for a moment and first attend to the arrangement that they are leaving. Departing physicians need to understand their legal rights and obligations when leaving their current employment relationships in order to avoid unintended consequences and detrimental missteps along the way. Here are a few words of practical advice for physicians contemplating an exit from their current employment arrangements.

Investment Training for the Second and Third Generations

Consider this scenario. Mom and Dad started the business from the ground up. Over the decades it has expanded into a money-making machine. They are able to sell the business and it results in a multimillion-dollar payday for their labors. The excess money has allowed Mom and Dad to invest with various financial advising firms, several fund management groups, and directly with new startups and joint ventures. Their experience has made them savvy investors, with a detailed understanding of how much to invest, when, and where. They cannot justify formation of a full family office with dedicated investors to manage the funds, but Mom and Dad have set up a trust fund for the children to allow these investments to continue to grow over the years. Eventually, Mom and Dad pass. Their children enjoy the fruits of their labors, and, by the time the grandchildren are adults, Mom and Dad's savvy investments are gone.