|CONGRESS PASSES 1-YEAR MEDICARE PHYSICIAN PAYMENT FIX
Today with a strong vote of 409 - 2 House members followed a unanimous Senate vote by passing a 1-year Medicare physician payment fix that will avert the 25 percent cuts scheduled to occur on January 1, 2011. This legislation will extend current Medicare payment rates through December 31, 2011.
This $20 billion package contains the $14.9 billion physician payment fix combined with a $5.1 billion extension of a range of expiring Medicare payment provisions. This "extenders" package includes the following:
- $200 million for Medicare Administrative Contractors and other carriers and fiscal intermediaries to reprocess claims that have been submitted over the past year;
- $500 million extension of the Geographic Price Cost Index "floor" of 1.0, created in the Medicare Modernization Act;
- Clarification that children's hospitals will still be able to receive discounts on orphan drugs under the 340B drug discount program;
- Further clarifications that residency positions being shared between teaching hospitals under an affiliation agreement could not be redistributed to other hospitals;
- Extension of section 508 hospital reclassification;
- Repeal of the delay of the RUG-IV payment program for skilled nursing facilities;
- Funding to reprocess Medicare claims due to an earlier delayed physician payment fix;
- A conforming amendment clarifying that waivers of cost-sharing for Medicare preventive services also apply when they are provided at federally qualified health centers;
- Clarification of the effective date of Part B special enrollment for Tricare beneficiaries;
- Limitation on reasonable cost payments for certain laboratory tests furnished in certain rural areas;
- Adjustment to Medicare payment localities in the state of California;
- Medicaid and CHIP technical corrections that pertain to exclusions, income eligiblity payment error rates, coverage of state employees' children and bonus payments for electronic health record adoption;
- Clarification for affiliated hospitals' distributions of residency positions; and,
- Clarification that American Indians and Alaska Natives are eligible for participation in the reform law's high risk pools.
To read a summary of the legislation click here.
To read the legislation click here.