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Written by: Darlene D'Altorio-Jones (1959-2015) on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 Posted in: Outpatient Rehab

Don’t lose track!  As often happens in the legislative processes, many of our interests are redirected and repackaged into other amendments and bills and before you know it you’ve lost time and emphasis to impact laws directly related to our livelihoods.

H.R. 3630 is one such amendment.  Therapy caps which were dealt with in H.R. 1546 have been rolled up into H.R. 3630 “Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011”.  It is defined as: “A bill to extend the payroll tax holiday, unemployment compensation, Medicare physician payment, provide for the consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline, and “FOR OTHER PURPOSESas stated by www.govtrack.us.   Medicare physician payment and other purposes is where you will want to pay attention.   These other purposes were listed under Title III of H.R. 3630 and they significantly impact outpatient rehabilitation, therefore it’s time to take notice!

This amendment held in deadlock as a political gesture was more than just about payroll taxes.  It temporarily held physician sustainable growth rate (S.G.R.) from a 27.4 percent payment cut and kept the exceptions process for Medicare therapy caps extended, both which would have occurred Jan. 1, 2012.   This is a temporary win for those paid under the physician fee schedule and affected by therapy caps; keeping in mind that as of 2012 this would also include hospital practices which it had not previously affected.

Below are the two sections of H.R. 3630 concerning outpatient therapy:

“Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011”

TITLE III—TEMPORARY EXTENSION OF HEALTH PROVISIONS

Sec.301.Medicare physician payment update.

Sec.304.Extension of exceptions process for Medicare therapy caps.

Even though in a leap year we will have an extra day added to February, time passes quickly.   If either of these items will adversely affect your ability to care for patients and meet projected budgets established at this time; find out HOW you can voice your concerns and push the House and Senate to acting more responsibly.   H.R. 3630 may morph into another unrecognizable number housed in Washington.  Provide your feedback before another countdown begins!

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