Reform of the caps on outpatient therapy and repeal of the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula will be part of the 2014 federal budget discussions in a conference committee seeking compromise after disagreements led to a 16-day government shutdown. Amendments to a congressional budget resolution support the authority to "reform or replace" both provisions.
The conference committee has until December 13 to send a compromise budget to both chambers of Congress—failure to do so will leave unresolved many of the issues that sparked the October 1 shutdown. The shutdown was rooted in largely partisan disagreements over federal spending, disagreements that budget conferees hope to resolve before the December deadline.
Conference committee members will discuss a budget proposal that allows for substantive changes to be made to limitations on Medicare Part B payments. The legislative language in the budget resolution lends support to SGR and therapy cap reform efforts being reviewed by both the House and Senate. These discussions include finding a permanent path to repeal the Medicare therapy caps and the SGR.
APTA has been a strong advocate for changes that would end hard caps and put a permanent end to the SGR—an outdated formula that has been temporarily altered by Congress every year in so-called "Doc Fix" legislation. Grassroots efforts to make these changes are now under way and will become a central focus of APTA's advocacy agenda through the end of the year.
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