Friday, February 15, 2013

Hospice Medicare Rates Impacted by Sequestration

Most Americans are aware that Congress took action in January to avoid the fiscal cliff that would impact just about every aspect of federal spending. While most individual income tax increases were avoided, Congress provided only short term relief from dramatic spending cuts within the federal budget. Indeed, absent a more considered alternative, “across the board” spending cuts will be made effective on March 1, 2013. These forced spending cuts are a process called sequestration – and in most cases, legislators want to avoid sequestration because the cuts are done with such a broad brush that they negatively impact just about everyone.

As March 1 approaches, NHPCO wants to provide more detailed information on the implementation of sequestration, which will involve a 2% cut in Medicare payments, effective for services provided on or after April 1.

What does this mean?
 1. Hospices will continue to bill at the FY2013 rates.
 2. For services provided on or after April 1, 2013, the MAC will deduct 2% from the reimbursement before paying the claim.  The hospice will NOT bill at the 98% rate.
 3.The sequestration cuts will continue for 10 years, unless there is Congressional action to discontinue them.

NHPCO issued a Regulatory Alert (02/12/13) for members that provides links to some additional information, including a wage index chart and rate calculator.

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