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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Dec 18 2011   9:48PM GMT

Doc-fix passed the senate but faces a potential no in the house

Posted by: RedaChouffani
Doc-fix, doc-xix, Medicare, medicare cuts, Medicare overhaul plan, Medicare reimbursement, MU

On Dec. 17, 2011, the Senate passed a bill that will provide a short term “doc-fix”. This bill was passed as part of a larger bill that extends a cut in the payroll tax and pushes back the 27% Medicare cut that was originally scheduled for Jan. 1, 2012 until the end of February.  The Senate voted 89-10 Saturday morning to delay the cuts to physician Medicare payments for two months, however the House will still need to approve the bill before it goes to the president for signing.

At this stage,   according to the House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) the GOP majority in the House opposes the two month fix.  But no one know for sure until the vote that will take place tomorrow.

These cuts significantly concern physicians, providers and health care organizations as a whole, as they stand to have a significant impact on their reimbursements and bottom lines.  The bill contained other extensions, such as the payroll tax, as well as an extension in unemployment benefits until the end of February 2012.

There have also been talks about other changes to Medicare recently, via a proposed plan by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who released the Medicare overhaul plan last week.  The new plan proposes a private insurance option with subsidies, which they believe will cut Medicare costs.

Given the plethora of changes that have come down the pike as of late, namely the delay in meaningful use stage 2, HIPAA 5010, as well as the ever-changing landscape at the policy level in Washington, many health care professionals are watching closely to see how these will not only affect their reimbursements and bottom lines, but also their overall project and implementation timelines as well as their incentives.

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