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  • Washington Highlights

    Federal Agencies Announce No Surprises Act Flexibility for Providers

    Shahid Zaman, Director, Hospital Payment Policy
    For Media Inquiries

    The departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury announced providers, facilities, and providers of air ambulance services affected by the Change Healthcare cybersecurity incident may have additional time to initiate the open negotiation process under the No Surprises Act (P.L. 116-260 (PDF)). Open negotiation refers to the process a provider and a group health plan or health insurance issuer utilize to attempt to reach an agreement related to the payment amount for out-of-network services before resorting to the independent dispute resolution process.

    The departments stated that if a provider, facility, or provider of air ambulance services is not able to initiate open negotiation for any item or service furnished on or after Jan. 1 because of the Change Healthcare cybersecurity incident, these parties may choose to initiate open negotiation for these items or services at any point between June 14 and Oct. 12, regardless of when the payment or notice of denial of payment and disclosures were transmitted from the plan or issuer. Under the No Surprises Act, providers, facilities, and air ambulance service providers generally have 30 business days from when they receive an initial payment or a notice of denial of payment from the plan to begin open negotiation.

    Parties intending to use this exception period must submit an attestation (PDF) that their ability to initiate timely open negotiation for an item or service was impacted by the cybersecurity incident.