Temporary Reprieve to some Final Rule Changes Passed by Senate but the Fight is NOT Over!
Last night the Senate passed a bill by unanimous vote called The Physician Payment and Therapy Relief Act of 2010 (PPTRA) that allows a 30 day reprieve from the Medicare Final Rule and continue the existing 2.2% Medicare payment update that expires November 30.
The PPTRA also changes the multiple payment procedure reduction (MPPR) finalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this month, by applying a 20% reduction, rather than the 25% reduction in the final rule for the second and subsequent outpatient therapy services provided and paid under the physician fee schedule (PFS). The savings will be used as savings to offset the cost of this 1 month extension instead of distributing on a budget neutral basis as in the Final Rule.
APTA's position on the MPPR is to get rid of the policy all together, due to strong data and support that codes used by physical therapists are appropriately valued through the AMA RUC process . We, as physical therapists, need to continue to loudly voice our opinions and support the APTA in its continued fight at the regulatory and legislative levels, against the application of an MPPR policy for therapy services . Due to the practice expense reduction from 25% to 20% and the update in payments by continuing the 2.2% update for December 2010, the APTA will not oppose PPTRA. However, the fight is NOT over! This reprieve is only temporary and both the extension of the therapy cap exceptions process and the January 1, 2011, sustainable growth rate payment cut, which is projected at 25%, still need to be addressed. We must continue let others know of the value of the physical therapy profession and what our services are worth. SUPPORT YOUR PROFESSION!
PPTRA has been sent to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to be voted on when Congress returns after Thanksgiving.