With work finally completed on the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, Congress is expected to turn its attention to legislation to reform the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), the formula used to reimburse doctors for providing Medicare services.
As you may recall, just before the New Year, there was significant movement in Congress to permanently repeal the Medicare therapy caps as part of SGR reform legislation. In fact, there is an SGR reform bill currently in the Senate that would repeal the therapy caps and replace them with a system that would allow for more targeted reviews of therapy use instead of the current arbitrary monetary caps.
To give Congressional leaders more time at the beginning of this year to continue their work, a three-month extension of the Medicare therapy caps exceptions process was passed as part of the December 2013 budget agreement. Absent the extension, which runs through March 31, 2014, people with Parkinson’s would be denied access to medically necessary physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy services once the caps of $1,920 are reached.
Some significant policy hurdles remain before legislation is finalized, including reconciling Senate and House proposals and finding ways to pay for all of the changes being discussed. As the debate takes shape over the next few weeks, PAN will remain engaged with Congressional staff and our coalition partners in Washington.
We are excited that permanent repeal of the Medicare therapy caps could be within reach for the first time in almost 20 years, and we will reach out with opportunities to contact your Members of Congress on this important issue.
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Join PAN for the Parkinson’s Day of Action!
On February 26, support the efforts of Parkinson’s leaders on Capitol Hill and call your Members of Congress to ask them to repeal the Medicare therapy caps and increase federal research funding.