On April 1, 2014 the President signed the "Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014" that passed both houses of Congress on a bipartisan basis. The bill averts the scheduled 24 % cut within the Medicare Physicians Fee Schedule attributable to the defective Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment update methodology for 1 year, extends the .5 % (compared to 2013) increase to payment until December 31, 2014, and provides no further increase through March 31, 2015. The College will continue to advocate for a more permanent solution to the SGR problem. The signed legislation makes additional changes with-in the Medicare program including:
- Delaying the required switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 until October 1, 2015.
- Facilitating efforts to more properly value physician payment codes.
- Establishing provisions to improve the safety and decrease the inappropriate use of certain imaging services.
- Delaying the implementation of the "two-midnight" rule for determining the appropriateness of a hospital admission.
The College will provide further information regarding these and other changes related to this legislation in the near future.