September 19, 2023

ACEP Calls Out Insurer Abuses During Hearing on Flawed Surprise Billing Law Implementation

Today, Dr. Seth Bleier, ACEP member and vice president of finance, Wake Emergency Physicians, PA (WEPPA) in North Carolina, testified in front of the influential House Ways and Means Committee during a public hearing on the flawed implementation of the No Surprises Act. Dr. Bleier highlighted issues facing emergency physicians and patients, called out insurer bad practices, and advocated for fixes to ensure the law is carried out fairly.

ACEP secured this opportunity for Dr. Bleier to testify so that lawmakers could hear from emergency physicians on the front lines about the urgent need to stop flagrant insurer abuses of the law and the IDR process, address the growing IDR claims backlog, and make sure that the law is implemented consistent with the Congressional intent.

Fielding dozens of questions from legislators, Dr. Bleier raised concerns that the IDR process has been virtually inaccessible for smaller practices and called out cases where physician groups were subjected to significant reimbursement cuts for longstanding contracts, and or payers are simply not paying at all. Thanks to ACEP advocacy, committee members listened earnestly and heard the voice of emergency medicine loud and clear.

ACEP is fighting to resolve these issues in court, and we will continue using our seat at the table to confront these challenges head-on. Dr. Bleier told Congress: “Unfortunately, the implementation of the law to date has proven to be exceptionally challenging for smaller practices like ours. While we have so far been able to weather some of the impacts, if these challenges are not resolved, we are deeply concerned that practice models like ours may not be viable in the near future, and access to lifesaving emergency care may be severely affected, especially for rural and underserved patients.”

Following a string of legal victories for emergency physicians, the IDR process is suspended until the rules that govern it are updated in line with the court decisions.

ACEP is calling for the IDR process to be re-opened immediately to avoid further delays. Our work is far from done, and we will seize every opportunity to use our platform to protect and empower each of you.


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