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How To Help Block Proposed Medicare Cuts – Urgent Message From Texas Psychological Association

us_capitolDr. Cherly Hall, Texas Psychological Association (TPA) Board Trustee, released an important message that asks psychologists to contact their Representative and request passage of H.R. 3961. This bill prevents sizable scheduled cuts to provider payments. Dr. Hall points out that changes in Medicare not only affect Medicare providers, but also private pay insurance collections. The original announcement is posted below, plus instructions on how to contact your Representative using a suggested message.

Original Announcement
Dear Colleagues,

This week the House of Representatives may vote on the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009, called H.R. 3961. If passed, this bill would prevent the scheduled 21.2% cut to Medicare provider payments from taking effect in 2010. The bill also provides for a 1% update for providers in 2010, and future years will have inflationary adjustments as well. If H.R. 3961 passes we will no longer have to collectively fight an automatic cut in Medicare payment rates every year driven by the Sustainable Growth Rate (or SGR) formula and the SGR would be permanently replaced.

Even if you are not a Medicare provider at the present time, this can have a significant impact on you as a provider and on your patients because payment rates with Medicare can affect payment rates with other insurers.

Please take the time to follow the link below, contact your Representative and ask him or her to pass H.R. 3961. Please do it today!!

Click here to urge your Representative to pass H.R. 3961

Suggested Message:
I am writing as a psychologist and constituent to urge you to pass H.R. 3961, the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009. Congress must take action to prevent the 21.2% cut to provider payments scheduled for 2010 and should permanently replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The SGR formula has created an untenable situation for Medicare patients, providers and the system as a whole, in which every year we must collectively fight an automatic cut in Medicare payment rates. Medicare beneficiaries, who have paid into the program for years, must maintain access to high quality mental health services. The continuing threat of SGR cuts puts this important entitlement at risk and must be addressed this year.

Please pass H.R. 3961. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Cheryl L. Hall, Ph.D., MS PsyPharm
Clinical Psychologist
TPA Board Trustee

Adapted by CFisher

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One Response to How To Help Block Proposed Medicare Cuts – Urgent Message From Texas Psychological Association

  1. avatar
    Chris Fisher November 22, 2009 at 11:07 AM #

    It turns out that the day this announcement was posted the bill passed, which is good news. Here is a update on this:

    I am pleased to inform you that yesterday the House passed legislation to permanently replace the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and prevent the 21.2% cut to Medicare provider payments from taking effect in 2010. The Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act (H.R. 3961) would provide a 1% update for providers in 2010 followed by regular inflation-based adjustments in future years. With the help of psychologists like you across the country, we were able to mobilize nearly 4,000 messages to members of the House in a very short period of time. Great work! The vote was 243-183. You can see how your Representative voted at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll909.xml.

    On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) unveiled the leadership’s comprehensive health care reform legislation, merging together the Finance Committee and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee versions. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains several key Medicare provisions halting the scheduled SGR cut, providing a 0.5% update in 2010 and extending our 5% psychotherapy payment restoration. In order to reduce overall costs, the bill limited the duration of key Medicare provisions to one year, anticipating further action on Medicare again next year. The full House previously approved a two-year restoration extension as part of the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) on November 7.

    Your advocacy work, combined with direct lobbying by our team in Washington, has enabled the inclusion of the restoration extension in every piece of legislation along the way, in each key committee’s version as well as each chamber’s merged bill. We will continue to work to ensure that the final Medicare provisions sent to the President, regardless of the legislative vehicle, provide the maximum reimbursement relief for practicing psychologists.

    Thanks for your continuing efforts.

    Jeff Cook
    Director, Field and State Operations
    APA Practice Organization
    750 First Street, NE
    Washington, DC 20002

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