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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Jan 1 2012   11:45PM GMT

Temporary Payroll Tax relief Passed with the Doc Fix

Posted by: RedaChouffani
Doc-fix, HR 3765

President Barack Obama has signed the temporary Payroll Tax relief into law on December 23rd, of 2011. This is a two-month extension on the payroll tax cut and several other extensions including the one for the Medicare reimbursement cuts that were scheduled for January 1st.
The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 (HR 3765) includes the following provisions:

  • Temporary payroll tax relief
  • Temporary Extension of unemployment compensation provisions
  • Temporary Extension of health provisions
  • Mortgage Fees and Premiums
  • Other provisions such as:
  • Keystone XL Pipeline
  • Budgetary Provisions

In the case of healthcare provisions these were the items included in the bill starting with the one with the most financial significant one:

  • Medicare physician payment update.
  • 2-month extension of MMA section 508 reclassifications.
  • Extension of Medicare work geographic adjustment floor.
  • Extension of exceptions process for Medicare therapy caps.
  • Extension of payment for technical component of certain physician pathology services.
  • Extension of ambulance add-ons.
  • Extension of physician fee schedule mental health add-on payment.
  • Extension of outpatient hold harmless provision.
  • Extending minimum payment for bone mass measurement.
  • Extension of the qualifying individual (QI) program.
  • Extension of Transitional Medical Assistance (TMA).
  • Extension of the temporary assistance for needy families program.

The US president will face a significant challenge when working toward extending the tax cuts as well as Doc Fix after the end of February of this year. While ultimately everyone is looking to identify a permanent fix or resolution for some of the deficit and the challenges it poses, many associations and healthcare professionals are seriously concerned about continuing to have the uncertainty on the reimbursement cuts.

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