Strong Support for Our Local Doctors in Year-End Package

December 21, 2020 — Blog    — Coronavirus Bulletin    — In Case You Missed It...    — Press Releases   
  • Bans Surprise Medical Bills and Creates a Fair Dispute Resolution Process.
    • Protects patients from surprise medical bills while rejecting price setting schemes and attempts to limit providers’ access to arbitration.
    • Explicitly bans the arbiter from considering government-set rates.
    • Accommodates physician stakeholder concerns about the timeline surrounding arbitration by giving providers more flexibility to when they can start the process.
    • Creates an interim report to Congress two years after enactment to ensure rigorous oversight of the development of the arbitration process.
    • Adds additional flexibility for the Secretary to establish the “90 day cooling off period” in a manner that ensures all claims are eligible for arbitration.
  • Increases physician pay across the board, stops planned Medicare cuts and mitigates at least two-thirds of the cuts to certain providers due to Medicare budget neutrality requirements.
    • Blocks a new code created in the latest physician fee schedule rule for three years, which is projected to mitigate these cuts by a third.
    • Injects $3B into the physician fee schedule in 2021, resulting in payment increases across the board.
    • Continues the current Alternative Payment Model (APM) thresholds for two additional years, allowing more providers to qualify for the 5 percent APM payment who would otherwise have been disqualified because of statutory increases in threshold amounts.
    • Delays the 2 percent sequester cuts that were supposed to resume January 1, 2021, for three additional months.
  • Supports Medicare physician workforce development by providing for the distribution of 1,000 additional Medicare-funded graduate medical education (GME) residency positions.
  • Dedicated funding for physician training in rural and underserved areas.
  • Allows patients entering hospice care to keep their same doctor from a federally qualified health center or rural health center.
  • Expands permanently telehealth for mental health services.
  • Delays implementation of the radiation oncology model anther six months to give providers more time to adapt to the new payment system.

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SUBCOMMITTEE: Full Committee    SUBCOMMITTEE: Health