SPOTLIGHT: Lower Costs, More Transparency Act Lowers Costs for Rural Seniors

Corporate hospital systems are doing everything they can to stop site-neutral reforms, which ensure that a location in which a patient receives does not inflate their bill. Their most recent claim is that lowering what seniors pay for drug administration would harm rural hospitals. This is not the case.

99.9% of the money Medicare spends on routine outpatient services in rural communities would not be affected by the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act.

Sadly, not getting as much focus is how helpful these policies are for patients – one study estimates this provision would save seniors on Medicare undergoing breast cancer treatment $1,500.

Seniors— including rural residents who travel to a city for care— pay much more for services provided in hospital-owned clinics compared to doctor’s offices.

Here are the details:

  • Just 7% of Medicare’s total off-campus outpatient spending (procedures performed outside of a hospital) occurs in rural areas. The legislation exempts Critical Access Hospitals, which account for 61% of all rural hospitals.
  • The legislation’s site-neutral provisions apply only to drug administration, which is only 17% of off-campus outpatient spending.
  • The bill also ensures honest billing, distinguishing between hospitals and off-campus physician offices.

As a result of this narrowly-designed provision, only 0.1% of Medicare spending on routine outpatient services for rural patients would be affected. This is far lower than the 40% of spending corporate hospitals claim would be impacted.

While corporate hospital systems defend the status quo, Better Solutions for Healthcare will continue to shine a light on this broken system and advance reforms to level the playing field and lower costs.