Late last night, the Congressional Conference Committee reached a deal on a 10-month measure that would prevent a 27.4% cut, due to the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) portion of the fee schedule, to Medicare providers scheduled for March 1. Sources on Capitol Hill have indicated to APTA that the deal also would extend the therapy cap exceptions process for the remainder of 2012.
National Journal is reporting that the 10-month extension, which costs nearly $20 billion, could be paid for by pulling money from a fund earmarked for preventive medicine in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cutting Medicare "bad debt" payments to hospitals when beneficiaries fail to pay their copays. Significant pressure from the prevention community to defeat this legislation is expected, due to the defunding of prevention dollars included in ACA.
The House and Senate still must pass the measure by February 29 to avoid the return of the therapy cap without exceptions and the 27.4% payment cut for Part B outpatient physical therapy services.
Upon its release, APTA will analyze the legislative text to see if it contains language that the association advocated for in the fall to set a path toward payment reform in therapy services.
Advocating on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries who receive outpatient rehabilitation services every year, APTA, as part of the Therapy Cap Coalition, yesterday urged members of the Congressional Conference Committee to provide the longest possible exceptions extension for Medicare Part B therapy services in the committee's final agreement.