Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Medicare’s  RUG-IV system that began in October will remain in place, thanks to a $19.2 billion package passed today in the House of Representatives. The legislation also extends Medicare’s therapy caps exception process until the end of 2011. The 409-2 vote comes one day after unanimous passage in the Senate. President Obama is expected to sign the measure into law once it reaches his desk.

“We’re not going to have to  reprocess [RUG-IV] claims,” said Sheila Lambowitz, director of the Division of Institutional Post Acute Care for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “We’re not going to have to change to a new [temporary]  grouper.”

Several industry groups immediately praised Congress for this week’s action.

“Our profession now has the tools to ensure that in 2011 we can continue delivering the comprehensive, complex and medically necessary health services America’s seniors need and deserve,” noted a joint statement from the American Health Care Association, the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care and the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care.

In addition, the measure extends Medicare payments to doctors that would have  been trimmed by 25% in January. The looming reduction had sparked fears that doctors would stop treating Medicare patients.

“This agreement is an important  step forward to stabilize Medicare, but our work is far from finished,” President Obama said in a statement. He added that it’s time “for a permanent solution that seniors and their doctors can depend  on.”