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Congress Extends The 5% Psychotherapy Restoration And Halts The SGR Cut

U.S. CapitolI am pleased to report that Congress has sent legislation to the President halting the 25% Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) cut for one full year through the end of 2011. Thanks to the tireless work of grassroots psychologists and our team in Washington, I am thrilled to inform you that the measure includes a hard-fought one-year extension of the 5% psychotherapy payment restoration.

This will ensure the continuation of $30 million in Medicare reimbursements for 2011. The bill also provides financial resources to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to process backlogged payments for claims since January 1, 2010 to which the restoration will be retroactively applied.

The Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 (HR 4994) passed the Senate by unanimous consent on December 8 and the House 409-2 on December 9. The President has expressed his support and is expected to sign the bill shortly.

As you know, Medicare reimbursement and psychologist payment issues remain a top priority for the APA Practice Organization. While we continue to face a challenging environment and complex battles on payment issues, this victory demonstrates the power of your determined advocacy – working together we are able to achieve positive legislative outcomes that have a real impact for practitioners and their patients.

Thanks for your hard work!

Jeff Cook, J.D.
Director of Field & State Operations
American Psychological Association Practice Organization
750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002
(202) 336-5875 (Office)
(202) 336-5797 (Fax) (click to verify and reveal email)

Republished with permission: APAPO

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One Response to Congress Extends The 5% Psychotherapy Restoration And Halts The SGR Cut

  1. avatar
    Christopher Fisher, PhD December 9, 2010 at 5:34 PM #

    The American College of Physicians issued this statement about these developments:

    The American College of Physicians (ACP) today commended Congress for taking bipartisan action to preserve access for patients enrolled in Medicare and TriCare by stabilizing physician payments through 2011. The College noted, though, that the incoming 112th Congress will need to enact legislation to provide longer-term stability in payments and lead to repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

    The legislation, passed unanimously by the Senate yesterday and passed by an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives today, will avert a nearly 25 percent Medicare and TriCare payment cut scheduled to become effective Jan. 1. The cut would have resulted from the flawed SGR formula, which has resulted in scheduled cuts in payments to physicians each year since 2002. President Obama has expressed his support for the legislation and he is expected to sign it within days.

    “Patients now will have greater confidence that physicians will be able to provide the care they need through 2011,” said Robert G. Luke, MD, MACP, chair of the ACP Board of Regents. “Congress has taken an important step in providing equity and stability for America’s seniors and military families. It is especially commendable that this was done on a bipartisan basis and with support of President Obama.”

    The decision to provide stable payments through end of next year is a welcome change from the chaos created during the past year because Congress couldn’t agree on anything more than temporary, stop-gap measures. Four times in 2010, Congress passed reprieves as brief as one month to stave off cuts before they could take effect, with some being provided retroactively. The most recent reprieve, which was for one month, was enacted just hours before the 23 percent cut would have gone into effect on Dec. 1.

    “Now, it is up to the 112th Congress to work with physicians and other stakeholders to develop bipartisan legislation to provide long-term stability in payments and lead to a permanent solution,” concluded Dr. Luke.

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