Reports of Therapy Cap Deal: Possible Vote Before Weekend
AOTA was successful today in achieving an extension of the cap exception process without imposing a permanent cap on hospital outpatient department (HOPD) therapy. House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders have reached an agreement on a tax and benefit package that will extend the exception process with a few minimal changes.
It will also avoid the scheduled 27.4% Medicare fee schedule cuts through December 2012. AOTA is analyzing the legislative language which is available here. A vote is expected as early as this weekend. AOTA had lobbied to limit the HOPD cap to prevent limiting beneficiary access; initially the HOPD was put in place permanently.
The cap fix is tied with the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule correction of which would prevent the scheduled cut to all Part B fees, including occupational therapy. An extension of tax cuts and unemployment insurance is also included in the debates.
“We have been in every committee office and in many members’ offices today but we don’t have confirmation of the details on the cap fix. We don’t know how it is paid for or implemented,” says Tim Nanof, AOTA director of Federal Affairs. “We are concerned that there may be some further restraints on access but we are continuing to advocate for fair treatment for beneficiaries.” The deal is not finalized and there could be last minute hitches, says Nanof. “Anything can happen in this environment.”
AOTA, as part of the Therapy Cap Coalition, issued a press release this week to keep the cap issue in the forefront. Updates will be posted as soon as documented information is available.
For more information about the therapy cap, click here.