As a result of advocacy efforts by MHA and the Massachusetts Medical Society, an amendment was added to the state’s COVID extension bill that delays implementation of the Patients First Act’s out-of-network provisions by two years, until January 2025. The bill has been passed and is currently awaiting the governor’s signature.
The provisions were originally scheduled to be implemented on July 31. They require all providers to give patients extensive disclosures on participation with the patient’s health plan and cost of services when scheduling a non-emergency admission, procedure, or service for a patient; providing a referral; or providing a referral by directly scheduling, ordering, or otherwise arranging for the services on the patient’s behalf. Because the state law duplicated much of what is required by the federal No Surprises Act, patients will continue to have protections around unexpected out-of-network bills and providers will have the time needed to focus on the implementation of the federal law’s extensive requirements.