Newsletter from Integrated Benefit Solutions
Federal Judge Upholds Hospital Transparency
On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, District Judge Carl
Nichols ruled in favor of the Trump administration’s final rule
requiring hospitals to disclose their negotiated prices. The rule
was released on Nov. 15, 2019, and set to take effect Jan. 1,
However, in December 2019, the American Hospital Association
(AHA) filed a lawsuit attempting to block the rule’s
implementation, stating that the requirement to disclose
negotiated prices violated their First Amendment rights.
Nichols ruled that it was within the Department of Health and
Human Services’ (HHS) scope to require the disclosure of these
negotiated rates, rejecting the AHA’s claims.
included in the final rule?
Hospitals will be required to provide easily accessible billing
information to patients. This means having all standard charges
available online and in one single data file that can be “read by
other computer systems,” according to a Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services (CMS) press release.
The charges listed would include “the gross charges,
payer-specific negotiated charges, the amount the hospital is
willing to accept in cash from a patient, and the minimum and
maximum negotiated charges,” according to the initial press
release about the final rule.
As part of the final rule, CMS was granted more authority over
enforcement. Specifically, the department has greater capability
to audit hospitals and issue fines of $300 per day to those who
The rule won’t be effective until Jan.
1, 2021. In that time, hospitals will be working to make the
applicable data available online, if it isn’t
already. The AHA is expected to appeal the ruling, which could
potentially delay the rule’s effective date.
Preparing for an Effective Virtual Meeting
The demand for virtual meetings increased as the
coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic closed offices, introduced social
distancing and halted business travel. As the COVID-19 threat
shifts and offices reopen, virtual meetings will continue to be a
viable way to conduct business with employees, customers
and other stakeholders.
Virtual meetings require more planning than in-person meetings to
be effective. To ensure a successful and productive virtual
meeting, keep in mind the following steps before the meeting even
- Choose the technology—There
are many web and videoconferencing platforms available, so
find the right software and features to support your
business. Choose one platform and stick to it. After
attendees download the platform once, it’ll
be easier to join meetings later.
- Create an agenda—Attendees
may have a full calendar, so be clear on the purpose of the
meeting and provide a timed agenda with topics and assigned
facilitators. This will help invitees decide their
attendance if they have multiple meetings at the same time.
Share this prework at least 48 hours in advance.
- Establish ground rules—It
might be helpful to have an agreed way of working, such as
stating your name before talking or muting when not
speaking. This helps keep the meeting efficient and remove
- Test the technology—It’s important to join the meeting at
least five minutes early to test your connection, microphone
- Look professional—If
using video, present yourself with appropriate grooming, hygiene and attire. That means mirroring
what you would wear in person and keeping in mind whether it’s an internal or external meeting.
it comes to virtual meetings, it’s
crucial to invest in preparedness. Setting expectations
beforehand can go a long way and positively impact a meeting’s
DOL Proposes Updates to Mental Health Parity Self-compliance Tool
The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed updates
to a self-compliance tool to help improve compliance with the
Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). The
MHPAEA requires parity between a group health plan’s mental
health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits and medical
and surgical benefits.
Federal law directs the DOL to make a document publicly available
to improve compliance with MHPAEA, and to update this document
every two years. The DOL last updated the MHPAEA self-compliance
tool in April 2018. The proposed updates to the self-compliance
- New guidance from FAQs Part
39 on MHPAEA compliance;
- More compliance examples,
including explanations of how violations of the MHPAEA can
- Best practices for
establishing an internal compliance strategy that promotes
the prevention, detection and
resolution of potential MHPAEA violations; and
- Additional examples of
treatment limitations encountered in recent enforcement
efforts that may be warning signs of a potential MHPAEA
DOL is requesting comments on the proposed revisions by July 24,
2020. After considering all feedback, the DOL will issue a final
self-compliance tool with any necessary clarifications in
response to the comments.
Employers should consider using the DOL’s mental health parity
resources to understand the MHPAEA’s requirements and review
their plan designs for compliance.
HR Action Steps for Employee Name Changes
With the summer wedding season underway, many employees
may soon be changing their names. As a result, in the coming
months, it is critical for employers to ensure that each
employee's name is accurately reflected on required forms and
internal records. Watch the video below to learn how to stay compliant.
For additional HR guidance, visit our Human