Medicare Updates from APTA and AOTA

Quoted below are the Medicare Updates by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).

Legislation to Override Payment Cut and Expiration of Therapy Caps Exception Process to Be Sent to President.

June 9, the United States Senate passed cloture on HR 6331 – the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act by a 69-30 margin. Prior to the vote, the Senate agreed that passage of cloture would also be final passage of the legislation. HR 6331 overwhelming passed by a 355-59 margin in the US House on Tuesday, June 24.

With the Senate passing the House bill, it is now transmitted to the President. The President has 10 days to consider signing or vetoing the legislation. To override the current 10.6% reduction and re-instate the exceptions process to the therapy cap, the President needs to sign HR 6331 into law. Until that time, the cuts and caps are still in effect per the July 1, 2008 implementation date.

HR 6331 includes critical provisions for physical therapists and their patients, including legislation to avoid the 10.6% cut in payments under the Medicare physician fee schedule and the expiration of the therapy cap exceptions process. Other provisions include a delay in competitive bidding for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) and payments updates to rural providers.

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Victory! Senate Passes Medicare Legislation After Tough Fight
The bill now goes to the President

Legislative Update — July 9, 2008
After a dramatic vote and weeks of tough advocacy, the Senate has passed the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (H.R.6331) by a veto proof majority of 69-30. The bill previously passed the House by an overwhelming vote of 355-59. The bill AOTA has been supporting will:

  • Extend the Therapy Cap Exceptions Process for 18 months
  • Replace a 10.6% cut to Physician Fee Schedule with a 1.1% increase
  • Delays Implementation of the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program
  • Provides increased incentives for Physician Quality Reporting initiates for 2009-2011
  • Requires CMS to Develop Profession Specific Accreditation Standards for DMEPOS or allows the Secretary to Defer to State Regulations

Because of the veto proof majorities in both chambers of Congress, it is expected that the President will sign the bill; he has 10 days to sign or veto the legislation.

This vote would not have occurred with significant citizen advocacy including that of AOTA members.

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