Bill eliminating Medicare Part B therapy caps introduced

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers is drawing praise from the long-term care community for introducing a bill that would eliminate spending caps on rehabilitation services for Medicare beneficiaries.

The Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act of 2009 is one of the first bills to be introduced in the 111th congressional session. It would seek to end Medicare Part B therapy caps, which limit reimbursements on physical, speech and occupational therapy. It is the fifth such bill introduced over the last decade. A bipartisan group in Congress introduced the bill, including Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (R-PA). The American Health Care Association and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care have expressed their support for the measure because many nursing home residents benefit from Part B therapy.  

Several moratoria and exemptions processes have staved off therapy caps since 1999. In July, Congress agreed to extend an exceptions process for 18 months. The cap is now set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2010.  Similar versions of the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act have been introduced in Congress during all of the last four congressional sessions, but the bill has yet to become law.
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