Senate fails to pass Medicare bill so full wrath of therapy caps to be felt again

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Senate fails to pass Medicare bill so full wrath of therapy caps to be felt again
Senate fails to pass Medicare bill so full wrath of therapy caps to be felt again
Medicare therapy caps for Part B therapy are scheduled to take full effect again on Tuesday after the Senate failed to pass a crucial Medicare bill before it recessed for the Fourth of July holiday late last week.

"We are very dismayed that on July 1 those Medicare therapy caps will go into (full) effect," Susan Feeney, spokeswoman for the American Health Care Association, told McKnight's on Friday. The caps, which were authorized several years ago and but then went through a series of postponements, were eventually implemented. However, a sweeping exceptions process that encompassed most nursing home residents essentially have made the caps a non-factor for many payment cycles. It is those exceptions that will expire tonight, kicking the therapy caps back into full effect until more relief can be found.

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NW) issued a statement Friday saying that the Senate would take up the bill (H.R. 6331) after the holiday. Earlier, he had postponed the Fourth of July recess until the measure could be passed. Last Thursday night, the Senate fell one vote short needed to consider the bill, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act, for a vote. The House passed the bill earlier in the week.

The cap will include any therapy services that contributed to the threshold as of Jan. 1, Feeney said. One concern is that because many nursing home residents receive Medicare and Medicaid, the facility may not be paid for the services it is rendering to certain residents, she added. Those annual limits are approximately $1,790 for occupational therapy and $1,790 for speech and physical therapy combined. Also to kick in on Tuesday is the 10.6% Medicare payment cut for physicians.