As new year kicks off, providers will be keeping their funny hats and noisemakers in the closet

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Thursday marks the beginning of the federal government's new fiscal year, and what a tumultuous year it could become for providers.

Among other changes, they'll see their Medicare reimbursements cut by 1.1%. That's the aftermath of federal regulators' correction of a "forecasting error" over the costs of new resource utilization groups (a 3.3% cut) and an annual marketbasket payment update (a 2.2% addition).

The real cliffhanger, however, is going to be what, if any market-basket update will survive by the time Congress finishes dealing with healthcare reform.