If you’re at all familiar with the final 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, you know this much: The clock is ticking. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is weeks away from enacting another set of harmful payment cuts to dozens of providers including PTs — this time, about 3.4% — and Congress, the only possible entity that could provide relief at this point, is doing … almost nothing.
At least so far. The bottom line is, Congress must infuse the Medicare Part B program with over $1 billion in additional funding if the cuts are to be avoided, and that infusion would most likely be a part of a larger spending package to fund the federal government. And while a so-called “laddered” short-term spending package was put in place in mid-November to prevent a government shutdown, keeping different parts of the government funded until Jan. 19 and Feb. 2, 2024, respectively, funding and reauthorization for dozens of federal programs, including Medicare relief, was not included.
That means for now, the 3.4% cuts to the fee schedule's conversion factors are still scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
So what happened? And more importantly, what might happen in the coming weeks and months?