House passes 12-month ‘doc fix’ deal

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 4302, “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014,” which would postpone the 24 percent Medicare physician payment cut for 12 months. The bill is a compromise between House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) The Senate may also take quick action on the bill.

House and Senate lawmakers have been attempting to repeal and replace Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula in advance of a 24% cut to physicians’ reimbursements scheduled to take effect on April 1. However, disagreements over separate Democratic and Republican-sponsored proposals have prevented a final bill from being passed before the deadline.

The compromise proposal contains a number of other health care provisions:

  • Grant Medicare physicians a 0.5% fee increase through the end of 2014;
  • Delay the deadline to implement the new ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure code sets by one year, to Oct. 1, 2015
  • Provide higher Medicare payments to hospitals in rural areas and for ambulance services in such areas;
  • Delay implementation of the two-midnight rule, by six months, to March 2015; and
  • Implement $2 billion in payment reductions over 10 years to skilled nursing providers

A number physician groups, including the AMA, oppose another short-term patch and have repeatedly called on Congress to approve a long-term, permanent solution to the SGR problem. 

2014-03-27T00:00:00+00:00 March 27th, 2014|Advocacy, Professional Development|