LTC, other healthcare sectors to blitz administration about sequestration cuts, possible alternativesNovember 09, 2012
When President Obama speaks today about mandated sequestration cuts to Medicare funding, he is expected to set off the most intense period of lobbying yet among healthcare providers. Long-term care stakeholders are especially fearful of the potential compounding effect the 2% across-the-board reductions could have, given other restrictions already in play. One solution LTC lobbyists are recommending: A massive exception them from the mandate, much as the defense sector enjoys. Congress put off taking action earlier on the funding cuts but now the piper must be paid — unless lawmakers somehow act to mitigate or otherwise postpone the cuts again.
It's hard to believe we're in the midst of another conference season. The American Health Care Association's annual meeting already has passed and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging's is about a week away.
As the end of the year approaches, long-term care providers will be lobbying to extend the therapy caps exceptions process, which is set to end Dec. 31. Another therapy issue—a proposed rule to reduce payments when multiple therapy procedures are provided to a Medicare beneficiary in one day—also is on providers' radar screens.
There's a game called the "temporary doc fix." Congress plays it every year and I'm beginning to tire of it.
The Senate Wednesday passed a pivotal bill that would extend for six months the temporary increase in states Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP). It also would extend the Medicare Part B therapy caps exceptions process through Dec. 31, and delay a 21% Medicare payment cut for physicians until Oct. 1.
Just hours after unveiling a jobs bill that would extend the therapy caps exceptions process and delay a pay cut for Medicare physicians, Senate leaders last week scrapped it in favor of a bill that contains neither of those provisions.
One bipartisan group of senators is petitioning Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to postpone implementation of the cap on Medicare Part B outpatient therapy reimbursements.
Whether or not you are a fan of healthcare reform, here's one reason Congress should pass it: It would extend the therapy caps exceptions process.