Senate approves one-year SGR patch, delays ICD-10 billing codes
The US Senate voted Monday to approve a one-year temporary legislative patch to avoid looming 24% cuts to physician Medicare payments. The measure also delays the ICD-10 billing codes compliance deadline until 2015
The “doc fix,” an annual measure to delay the cuts, passed by a voice vote of 64-35, with 60 votes needed for passage. The House approved the measure by voice vote on Friday.
“The AMA is deeply disappointed by the Senate’s decision to enact a 17th patch to fix the flawed sustainable growth rate formula,” AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, said in a statement following the vote. “Congress has spent more taxpayer money on temporary patches than it would cost to solve the problem for good.”
The measure also provides for the ICD-10 code set to be delayed until Oct. 1, 2015, but the AMA said it “continues to work to stop its implementation altogether.”
Earlier Monday, Senate Finance committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) unsuccessfully tried to convince the Senate to grant unanimous consent to move a bill to repeal the Medicare sustained growth rate formula and fund its replacement with savings from US troop withdrawals in Afghanistan.
The $21 billion patch will extend the current 0.5% fee update through the end of the year and freeze payment rates from January to March of next year.
“This bill perpetuates an environment of uncertainty for physicians, making it harder for them to implement new innovative systems to better coordinate care and improve quality of care for patients,” Hoven said.
The AMA said it will continue to press Congress to pass permanent SGR repeal this year.