It has been an eventful year: sequester, functional G-codes, government shutdown, healthcare.gov, and now a budget deal.
This month, the U.S. Senate voted 64-36 to approve a bipartisan budget agreement. The House passed the measure on December 12 and the President has indicated he will sign the bill into law.
The bill includes an amendment that avoids a 20% reduction in the physician fee schedule (Sustainable Growth Rate or SGR) that was scheduled for January 1, 2014. It also extends the therapy caps exceptions process as well as the Manual Medical Review Process (MMR). Unfortunately, the bill is only a 3-month “patch” through March 31, 2014.
This has been a common occurrence since 1997, but the differences this year are the discussions around permanent fixes for the SGR and therapy caps. The Senate returns January 6 and The House returns January 7 to resume negotiations on the proposals from the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees. Both proposals would repeal the SGR and establish pay for performance standards for physicians as well as incentives for meeting quality measures. The Senate Finance Committee proposal would permanently repeal the therapy caps upon enactment! It would also repeal the MMR effective January 1, 2015 and establish a new MMR process that would target providers with unusually high billing patterns or questionable billing practices.
There is certainly no guarantee that Congress will pass either of these proposals into law, but I want to thank those of you who took the time to contact your congressional leaders to ask them to support repeal of the therapy caps. It feels like the rehab industry is finally making some progress after years of lobbying efforts, but we need to keep the pressure on.
Finally, I just want to thank all the Infinity employees, patients, family, and friends. Each and every one of you help to make my experience at Infinity unique, fulfilling, and memorable while inspiring me to keep living out our mission: To enhance the life of every person we serve. THANK YOU! and I wish that each of you enjoy this holiday season surrounded by the ones you love.
Mike Billings, PT, MS, CEEAA – President