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Congress acts ahead of deadline, exceptions process extended, cuts avoided


3/31/2014

Today, the Senate completed work on a year-long patch, passed last week by the House, that will avert cuts to Medicare providers and extend the therapy exceptions process. Despite the desire and effort of many in Congress to forge ahead with a more comprehensive fix to Medicare payment policy and broad agreement on the approach, an impasse over how to pay for the bill slowed progress ahead of the March 31st deadline.  

With an immediate compromise out of reach, the House and Senate took prudent steps to avoid significant disruption to the Medicare program. More specifically, the 12-month patch: 

  • Delays cuts of 24 percent on Medicare Physician Fee Schedule until March 31, 2015
  • Extends the therapy cap exceptions process
  • Delays ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets until October 1, 2015 

The patch is estimated to cost about $22 billion and is financed by... 

  • Capturing savings from misvalued codes in MPFS .
  • Applying a 2% cut atop sequester for first 6 months of 2024.
  • Modifying Medicaid payments to disproportionate-share hospitals that treat high numbers of uninsured or underinsured patients. 

AOTA appreciates the House and Senate’s actions to ensure a path to care is preserved for our nation’s seniors. We remain hopeful that lawmakers can, in that same spirit, come together and find agreement on a long term solution reforms Medicare’s payment system and fully  repeals the outpatient therapy cap.