House Schedules a Thursday Vote on Another Medicare Patch; AMA Urges No Vote

39With the debate about how to fund a bipartisan bill repealing the Medicare physician payment formula stalled, the House is set to vote Thursday morning on a bill to extend the current payment formula for 12 months. For parliamentary reasons, a two-thirds majority is needed for passage.

The MMS, the American Medical Association, the American College of Surgeons, American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and many other physician organizations are strongly opposing the bill. They’re calling on the House and Senate to continue working on permanent repeal instead.

The House measure includes a surprise: A 12-month delay in the implementation of the ICD-10 coding system until October 2015. The American Health Information Management Association quickly opposed the delay, saying it would be costly to health care providers. The AMA opposes the implementation of ICD-10 outright, but this provision has not changed the AMA’s mind about the overall bill.

The 16th and most recent extension of the current payment formula is scheduled to expire on March 31. Without further action, a 24 percent cut in Medicare payments is scheduled to take effect on April 1.

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