|April 2, 2014|
Previously published on April 2014
On March 31, 2014, the Senate passed legislation to extend the current Medicare physician pay rates by 12 months. The approval came just in time to avoid the scheduled 24 percent cut under Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (“SGR”) formula. Congress has not been able to permanently fix Medicare’s reimbursement system despite the widespread and bipartisan support for repealing the SGR.
In addition to providing this temporary patch for physician pay rates, the legislation:
- delays the implementation of the ICD-10 coding system until October 1, 2015;
- delays Recovery Audit Contractor (“RAC”) enforcement of the “two midnight rule” through March 31, 2015;
- continues the 0.5 percent increase in Medicare pay rates through the end of 2014;
- boosts payment for the work component of physician fees in areas where labor cost is lower than the national average; and
- provides for technical corrections to the new long-term hospital (“LTCH”) criteria and modifies the moratorium on new LTCHs so that the moratorium starts earlier (as of the date of enactment rather than January 1, 2015).