House OKs 19-month doc pay fix, Medi­care cuts for hos­pi­tals

Modern Healthcare - - Late News -

The House voted 215-204 to ap­prove a greatly pared-down leg­isla­tive pack­age that in­cludes a $4.5 bil­lion Medi­care cut to hos­pi­tals, and sep­a­rately 245-171 to re­place a 21.2% cut in physi­cian pay­ments with 19 months of pos­i­tive up­dates. The two mea­sures were once part of the same leg­isla­tive pack­age but were split af­ter the com­bined bill proved too costly for a bloc of fis­cally con­ser­va­tive Democrats. House lead­ers stripped mea­sures from the orig­i­nal pack­age that would ex­tend a higher level of fed­eral re­im­burse­ment for Med­i­caid and that would ex­tend the time­line for CO­BRA pre­mium as­sis­tance. The Se­nate ad­journed early May 28 with­out tak­ing up ei­ther bill, mean­ing the soon­est it will con­sider the mea­sures is June 7. The doc­tor pay cuts of­fi­cially take hold on June 1, but the CMS said it would hold claims for at least 10 days pend­ing an­other ex­ten­sion. Un­der the $22.9 bil­lion physi­cian pay­ment mea­sure, doc­tors would see a 2.2% update for the bal­ance of the year, and a 1% in­crease in 2011. But they’ll face a 33% cut in 2012.

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