Section 69: Reimbursements to hospitals and community health centers for health services provided to uninsured and underinsured individuals
Section 69. (a) Reimbursements from the fund to hospitals and community health centers for health services provided to uninsured and underinsured individuals shall be subject to further rules and regulations promulgated by the office and shall be made in the following manner:?
(1) Reimbursements made to acute hospitals shall be based on actual claims for health services provided to uninsured and underinsured patients that are submitted to the office, and shall be made only after determination that the claim is eligible for reimbursement under this chapter and any additional regulations promulgated by the office. Reimbursements for health services provided to residents of other states and foreign countries shall be prohibited and the office shall make payments to acute hospitals using fee-for-service rates calculated as provided in paragraphs (5) and (6).
(2) The office shall, in consultation with the office of Medicaid, develop and implement procedures to verify the eligibility of individuals for whom health services are billed to the fund and to ensure that other coverage options are used fully before services are billed to the fund, including procedures adopted under section 66. The office may recover from a third party that is financially responsible for the costs attributable to services provided to an individual that were paid by the fund. A payment from the fund for such services shall be recoverable from the third party and the payment shall, after notice to the third party, operate as a lien under section 22. The office shall review all claims billed to the fund to determine whether the patient is eligible for medical assistance under this chapter and whether any third party is financially responsible for the costs of care provided to the patient. In making these determinations, the office shall verify the insurance status of each individual for whom a claim is made using all sources of data available to the office. The office shall refuse to allow payments or shall disallow payments to acute hospitals and community health centers for free care provided to individuals if reimbursement is available from other public or private sources; provided, that payments shall not be denied from the fund because services should have been provided in a more appropriate setting if the hospital was required to provide these services under 42 U.S.C. 1395(dd).
(3) The office shall require acute hospitals and community health centers to screen each applicant for reimbursed care for other sources of coverage and for potential eligibility for government programs and to document the results of that screening. If an acute hospital or community health center determines that an applicant is potentially eligible for Medicaid or another assistance program, the acute hospital or community health center shall assist the applicant in applying for benefits under that program. The office shall audit the accounts of acute hospitals and community health centers to determine compliance with this section and shall deny payments from the fund for any acute hospital or community health center that fails to document compliance with this section.
(4) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, an applicant for health safety net assistance shall, if eligible, be enrolled in MassHealth under section 9A or in the insurance reimbursement program, as provided in section 9C. An applicant deemed ineligible for either program and who is unable to make all or part of the payment for health services shall provide the name and address of the applicant's employer, if any, and the applicant's name, address, social security number and date of birth. The director of labor, in collaboration with the office, shall collaborate with the division of insurance and the department of revenue to implement this section and section 17 of chapter 176Q.
(5) To pay community health centers for health services provided to uninsured individuals under this section, the office shall pay community health centers a base rate that shall be no less than the then-current Medicare Federally Qualified Health Center rate, and the office shall add payments for additional services not included in the base rate, including, but not limited to, EPSDT services, 340B pharmacy, urgent care and emergency room diversion services.
(6) Reimbursements to acute hospitals and community health centers for bad debt shall be made upon submission of evidence, in a form to be determined by the office, that reasonable efforts to collect the debt have been made.
(7) The office shall reimburse acute hospitals for health services provided to individuals based on the payment systems in effect for acute hospitals used by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to administer the Medicare Program under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, including all of Medicare's adjustments for direct and indirect graduate medical education, disproportionate share, outliers, organ acquisition, bad debt, new technology and capital and the full amount of the annual increase in the Medicare hospital market basket index. The office shall, in consultation with the office of Medicaid and the Massachusetts Hospital Association, promulgate regulations necessary to modify these payment systems to account for: (i) the differences between the program administered by the office and the Title XVIII Medicare program, including the services and benefits covered; (ii) grouper and DRG relative weights for purposes of calculating the payment rates to reimburse acute hospitals at rates not less than the rates they are reimbursed by Medicare; (iii) the extent and duration of covered services; (iv) the populations served; and (v) any other adjustments to the payment methodology under this section as considered necessary by the office, based upon circumstances of individual hospitals.
Following implementation of this section, the office shall ensure that the allowable reimbursement rates under this section for health services provided to uninsured individuals shall not thereafter be less than rates of payment for comparable services under the Medicare program, taking into account the adjustments required by this section.
(b) By April 1 of the year preceding the start of the fund fiscal year, the office shall, after consultation with the office of Medicaid, and using the best data available, provide an estimate of the projected total reimbursable health services provided by acute hospitals and community health centers and emergency bad debt costs, the total funding available and any projected shortfall after adjusting for reimbursement payments to community health centers. If a shortfall in revenue exists in any fund fiscal year to cover projected costs for reimbursement of health services, the office shall allocate that shortfall in a manner that reflects each hospital's proportional financial requirement for reimbursements from the fund, including, but not limited to, the establishment of a graduated reimbursement system and under any additional regulations promulgated by the office.
(c) The executive office of health and human services shall enter into interagency agreements with the department of revenue to verify income data for patients whose health care services are reimbursed by the Health Safety Net Trust Fund and to recover payments made by the fund for services provided to individuals who are ineligible to receive reimbursable health services or on whose behalf the fund has paid for emergency bad debt. The office shall promulgate regulations requiring acute hospitals to submit data to enable the department of revenue to pursue recoveries from individuals who are ineligible for reimbursable health services and on whose behalf the fund has made payments to acute hospitals for such services or emergency bad debt. Any amounts recovered, including amounts received under chapter 62D, shall be deposited in the Health Safety Net Trust Fund, established in section 66.
(d) The office shall not at any time make payments from the fund for any period in excess of amounts that have been paid into or are available in the fund for that period, but the office may temporarily prorate payments from the fund for cash flow purposes.