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Good news has been reported from HBMA (http://www.hbma.org/) regarding cutting Medicare physician fee schedule payments and implementing ICD-10.

 

The United States Senate has joined the House of Representatives and passed legislation to prevent a 24% cut in physician fee schedule payments from occurring April 1, 2014.  Instead, Medicare physician fee schedule payments will continue to be paid as they have been for the past 3 months.

 

On April 1, President Obama signed into law a bill to delay the planned ICD-10 implementation until Oct. 1, 2015. Specifically, the bill prohibits CMS from enforcing a mandate to switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 until Oct. 1, 2015


The so-called SGR Patch approved by Congress will be in effect for 12 months, expiring on March 31, 2015.  Between now and then, Congress will have to enact a permanent fix or enact another patch to prevent a huge drop in Medicare Physician payments next April 1.
In addition to preventing the SGR related reduction, Congress approved language extending various other Medicare provisions slated to expire at Midnight tonight.  These include:


• Extends Medicare work Geographic Practice Cost Index (GPCI) floor for 1 year
• Extends Medicare therapy cap exception process for 1 year
• Extends Medicare ambulance add-on payments for 1 year
• Extends Medicare adjustment for Low-Volume hospitals for 1 year
• Extends Medicare-dependent Hospital (MDH) program for 1 year


In addition to these “extenders” Congress also approved a one-year delay in the effective date of the ICD-10 transition.  As you know, ICD-10 has been scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2014.  Due to Congressional intervention, the new effective date will be October 1, 2015.