To better allow physicians to manage the uncertainty of threatened Medicare fee reductions slated for the 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the 2012 Annual Participation Enrollment Program. Fortunately, a two-month Congressional suppression of the mandated pay cut followed.
Physicians narrowly escaped a 27.4 percent reduction in Medicare rates that was scheduled to begin Jan. 1 after the House of Representatives returned from hiatus long enough to pass the Senate’s amended version of the House bill. The Senate bill extends the 0 percent update for just two months, through Feb. 29. The House bill would have averted the negative update for two years and provided a 1 percent update in 2012 and 2013.
December 30th, 2011
The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) cut of payments to physicians servicing Medicare payments is not going to happen, at least for two months.
The House of Representatives passed a bill similar to one passed by the Senate on Dec. 17 that postpones the impending 27.4 percent cut to physicians’ Medicare reimbursement rates for two months.The Senate’s amended version of the House bill, called the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011, would have extended the 0 percent update through Feb. 29, 2012.
Both House and Senate bills would extend a number of other health provisions, including:
Sec. 302. 2-month extension of MMA section 508 reclassifications.
Sec. 303. Extension of Medicare work geographic adjustment floor.
Sec. 304. Extension of exceptions process for Medicare therapy caps.
Sec. 305. Extension of payment for technical component of certain physician pathology services.
Sec. 306. Extension of ambulance add-ons.
Sec. 307. Extension of physician fee schedule mental health add-on payment.
Sec. 308. Extension of outpatient hold harmless provision.
Sec. 309. Extending minimum payment for bone mass measurement.
Sec. 310. Extension of the qualifying individual (QI) program.
Sec. 311. Extension of Transitional Medical Assistance (TMA).
Sec. 312. Extension of the temporary assistance for needy families program.
December 19th, 2011
Congress has passed legislation to counteract the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that would have reduced Medicare physician reimbursement rates. The U.S. House of Representatives voted 409-2 in favor, Dec. 9, and the Senate voted by unanimous consent, Dec. 8, for the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 (HR 4994). The bill was presented to President Obama Dec. 10 for signing. If and when the president signs the bill, it will postpone the 25 percent pay cut to physicians until Jan. 1, 2012.
Update: President Obama signed the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 on Dec. 15.
December 9th, 2010
A 23 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians scheduled to take effect Dec. 1 has been postponed for one month. The U.S. House of Representatives agreed without objection Nov. 29 to an amended bill the Senate unanimously passed Nov. 18.
President Barack Obama signed the bill Nov. 30.
The Physician Payment and Therapy Relief Act of 2010 (HR 5712) as amended by Senate Amendment (SA) 4711 extends the 2.2 percent physician payment update that expired Nov. 30, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2010.
November 24th, 2010
Four of the largest home health care agencies (HHA) in the nation are reportedly being investigated by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee for suspected Medicare abuse.
Following a May 13 Wall Street Journal analysis, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Amedisys Inc., Gentiva Health Service Inc., LHC Group Inc., and Almost Family asking questions about the correlation between the number of home health therapy visits they provided and the Medicare reimbursement rate for those visits.
June 11th, 2010