Medicare Reimbursement Cuts Avoided…for Now

Some good news rang in with 2013: the House of Representatives passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act on January  1, 2013. Luckily for  physicians, this act delays the planned 26.5%  Medicare physician fee cuts set under the sustainable growth rate (SGR) for one year. These reimbursement cuts are currently set to kick back in on January 1, 2014.

While the passing of this act does not provide any increases in reimbursement for providers who service Medicare recipients, the act does guarantee that Medicare recipients will continue to have access to their doctors.  Medicare’s delay in payment processing was also averted.  Health care organizations should continue to see the typical adjudication process take a minimum of 14 days.

Congress and President Obama also state that they are committed to a permanent solution to eliminating the SGR reductions. 

However, on the flip side, the delay in cuts will be offset by a number of initiatives. One of these initiatives allows for Medicare to extend the current statute of limitations from three years to five years for recoupment of Medicare overpayments. This again puts the onus on health care organizations to limit their exposure and insure their revenue cycle with best practices and the implementation of HIPAA Security and Privacy Plans.

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