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NTOCC Update: Houses Passes SGR Reform Bill, Senate Vote in April

Posted on 3/27/2015 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

The House overwhelmingly passed the Medicare physician-reform bill, also known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) “doc fix”, on Thursday afternoon by a vote of 392-27, with 212 Republicans and 108 Democrats voting in favor of the legislation. The bill, which we outlined in more detail in an earlier update, will phase in a new payment system over the next few years that will focus on rewarding doctors who provide high-value—as opposed to high-volume—care. It will also extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for another two years.

The SGR reform bill is now in the Senate, which did not vote on its passage before they adjourned for a two-week recess early this morning. The bill is likely to pass in the Senate in April. The White House also publicly threw their support behind SGR reform earlier this week. There has also been some slight opposition to the bill from both sides of the aisle, but that doesn’t appear to affect the bill’s chance of passing the Senate chamber.

Despite the fact that the current SGR patch expires at midnight on March 31st, CMS has the ability to hold Medicare claims for physician services up to ten business days, giving the Senate one day to address the House-passed SGR bill when they return from recess. NTOCC staff are closely monitoring the progress of the package in the Senate and will continue to update as we hear of new developments. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.