Important News for Massachusetts Urgent Care Centers

  • June 28, 2018 7:40 AM
    Message # 6346987
    Deleted user

    Dear Massachusetts Urgent Care Owners, Operators, Providers, and Sympathizers:

    Last week a bill was introduced in the Massachusetts state legislature via the House Committee on Health Care Financing (H4617- An Act to Enhance Access to High Quality Affordable and Transparent Healthcare in the Commonwealth). This 128-page bill is a global effort on the part of the legislature to try and decrease health care costs within the state. The bill addresses a large number of topics, including underwriting and upgrading the state’s community health center program, providing aid to community hospitals to remain financially viable, increasing the use of telemedicine, pharmaceutical cost containment, and avoidance of surprise out-of-network billing, to name a few.

    The bill also specifically addresses ambulatory care in the form of regulations aimed at urgent care, ambulatory surgery centers, and retail medicine clinics. Although we are still evaluating this complex piece of legislation, areas of concern that have so far been identified include items relating to urgent care definitions, urgent care licensure, and most worrisome, urgent care taxation. H4617 proposes an 8.75% tariff be added to every charge billed during an urgent care visit. What this translates into for a center’s bottom line financials is incredibly worrisome, the implications of which will likely cause many urgent care practices to suffer irreparable harm (there is however an exclusion currently built into the bill for urgent care offices that are in some way aligned with an ACO partner).

    H4617 was introduced on June 19th, with work on the bill projected to be concluded by the end of the legislative session on July 31st. This is an exceptionally brief period of time for as consequential a bill as this to be fully and properly considered. Regardless, NERUCA seeks to act as quickly as we can to evaluate the bill and formulate a proper response.

    At present, NERUCA requests our Massachusetts partners provide input and assistance in formulating our organizational reaction to this legislation. Please respond with any information or suggestions you may have as to how we can best approach this important issue in the limited time available to us to do so. Also, please pass this information along to any colleagues in the Massachusetts urgent care community who may not currently be NERUCA or UCA members, so that they are similarly made aware of H4617 and NERUCA’s work to oppose it.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration,

    Jonathan S. Halpert MD FACEP

    Chair, Government Affairs

    North East Regional Urgent Care Association

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