News Flash: According to an Acting Deputy Director at CMS, Melissa Harris, CMS was “notified yesterday by our Seattle Regional Office that Washington has decided not to implement their ER payment prohibition on “non-emergent” conditions on April 1. They are determining whether/when to go forward. No additional details, like what led to this decision. This has brought temporary relief, but no one presumes that the conversation is over.”
This is certainly welcome news, but as Ms. Harris noted, this discussion is not over. Ms. Harris also indicated that CMS is considering several similar proposals from other states, presumably in bids to address budget deficits by revising the definition of a medical emergency, working around the prudent layperson standard, and denying payment for EMTALA-obligated medical screening exams when the final diagnosis indicates that the patient ‘could have been treated elsewhere’. Stay tuned for further information.