Amongst its many provisions, final 12 months’s Coronavirus Support, Aid and Financial Safety (CARES) Act pressed pause on the federal government’s 2% fee minimize to all Medicare-reimbursed well being care suppliers.
The “sequestration vacation” was instantly seen as a common sense lifeline for cash-strapped residence well being suppliers on the entrance strains of the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of whom had to determine how you can pay for costly private protecting tools (PPE) for the very first time.
Initially, the pause on Medicare sequestration was imagined to conclude on the finish of 2020. A subsequent coronavirus aid package deal, nonetheless, prolonged the vacation by way of March of this 12 months — which is developing quick.
“Medicare has been burdened with a 2% sequestration yearly since 2013,” William A. Dombi, president of the Nationwide Affiliation for Dwelling Care & Hospice (NAHC), stated throughout a hearth chat on the Dwelling Well being Care Information PDGM Summit on Wednesday. “The sequestration has been put in a pause at this level. It has been since final March. However that pause will run out on the finish of this month of March.”
The Washington, D.C.-based NAHC is at present within the means of asking lawmakers to once more prolong the sequestration pause. It despatched a letter to Congress together with 5 different well being care advocacy teams on Tuesday.
These teams included the American Well being Care Affiliation (AHCA), the American Medical Affiliation (AMA), the American Hospital Affiliation (AHA) and the Affiliation for Scientific Oncology (ASCO). The Nationwide Hospice and Palliative Care Group (NHPCO) likewise signed onto the letter.
“That is the fallacious time to provide all people a 2% minimize,” Dombi stated. “We hope they’re going to hear. They’ve listened earlier than. However we thought we would get an extended extension in December, and we solely received an extension till the tip of March.”
If one other extension isn’t an possibility, the letter additionally floats the thought of extra funding to counteract the two% minimize.
“Our suppliers are working tirelessly to ship the very best look after sufferers, households and communities, and we urge you to incorporate in laws addressing the COVID-19 pandemic extra funding to counter sequester cuts to Medicare suppliers,” it reads. “This funding would enable for continued assist of suppliers’ COVID-19-related misplaced revenues, in addition to extra bills on account of actions comparable to buying provides and tools, standing up emergency testing facilities and the development and retrofitting of amenities.”
In an ideal world, Congress would contemplate eliminating the two% sequestration minimize totally. However with the Medicare Belief Fund nearing chapter, that’s not totally lifelike, NAHC’s chief advised at HHCN’s PDGM Summit.
As of Wednesday, it’s too troublesome to firmly say what’s going to occur with the minimize.
“We’ve got efforts underway to get Congress to increase it,” Dombi stated. “I want I may even say I’m cautiously optimistic about it. However I can’t even say we’re cautiously optimistic.”