Philo D. Hall, Senior Counsel in the firm’s Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in Bloomberg BNA Health Law and Business, in “Trade Secrets Challenge Could Trip Up Trump Hospital Prices Plan,” by Lydia Wheeler. (Read the full version – subscription required.)
Following is an excerpt:
A legal fight is looming over a Trump administration proposal that would require hospitals to list their standard prices for medical services and their negotiated rates with insurance companies—prices some believe are proprietary.
Hospital and insurance groups are likely to sue if the administration moves forward with a final rule, and the litigation could raise thorny legal questions about a company’s right to be competitive and a patient’s right to make informed health-care choices.
One way hospitals and insurance groups may try to fight the rule is by claiming their negotiated prices are trade secrets, health attorneys say. …
“I think it’s reasonable for hospital groups to be looking at potential challenges if the rule is finalized as proposed,” said Philo Hall, senior counsel in Epstein, Becker and Green LLP’s health-care and life sciences practice.
The Affordable Care Act amended the Public Health Service Act by requiring hospitals to make public their “standard prices” for items and services. Attorneys say the CMS is now interpreting standard prices to also include the privately negotiated rates for each individual insurer.
But neither Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, nor hospital groups have ever considered the standard prices provision in the ACA to include commercial and financial information that is treated as confidential in a highly competitive industry, said Hall. Hall served as counsel to the George W. Bush administration’s HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and worked closely in that role with Alex Azar, the current HHS chief.