Yesterday, a majority passed Medicare legislation that reforms the physician payment formula also known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). H.R. 2 will now go to the Senate where it is expected to pass.
The bill includes the previously reported provisions that affect home health and hospice services:
- The annual payment rate update (Market Basket Index) is set at 1% in 2018. This represents an estimated 1 point reduction from what would otherwise be the update
- A two year extension of the home health rural add-on at 3%. Under the bill, the add-on would expire with episodes beginning January 1, 2018 and later.
- Modification of the home health surety bond requirements setting the bond minimum at $50,000 and allowing Medicare to scale the bond value up commensurate with the volume of Medicare revenue in the home health agency.
The Medicare beneficiary changes do not include a home health copay.
The bill “would institute a permanent fix in the physician payment methodology” which is good news for Medicare providers as there have been 17 previous “patches” that were financed by cutting provider payment rates.
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