Concerns grow over unsettled issues of therapy caps, Medicare physician pay

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Concerns grow over unsettled issues of therapy caps, Medicare physician pay
Concerns grow over unsettled issues of therapy caps, Medicare physician pay

Tensions are rising among healthcare providers over two unresolved issues: the implementation of Medicare Part B therapy caps and an impending 21% pay cut to Medicare physicians.

The $1,860 reimbursement cap on combined physical and speech therapies and occupational therapies went into effect on Jan 1. Already many nursing home providers have reportedly exceeded that limit, according to the American Health Care Association (AHCA). Meanwhile, without congressional action, a 21% cut to Medicare physician pay will take effect March 1. No one is certain when Congress will address the looming problems, or if they'll be able to do so by March 1, the Bureau of National Affairs reported. Senate leadership just last week removed fixes to these problems from a rough draft of a jobs bill.

In other Medicare news, one healthcare policy expert recently told the Center for Business Intelligence's Annual Strategic Medicare Policy Summit that payment bundling and pay-for-performance initiatives are the best ways to bring down Medicare costs. According to Bruce Steinwald, former director of health care at the Government Accountability Office, both those steps would shift healthcare incentives toward quality of care and away from quantity of care.