Congress Passes “Doc Fix”

Physicians can rest easy, at least for a while. On New Year’s Day, Congress passed a bill preventing certain Medicare cuts in 2013. This delay will come at the expense of future reimbursement rates for some providers. The fix will delay the previously expected 27% cut to physician rates until 2014. It will also temporarily prevent a 2% cut for all Medicare providers. However, other changes to reimbursement rates are still likely, and renegotiated cuts are still possible.

Several other provisions taking effect in 2013 and 2014 are also included in the bill. The bill delays another major reimbursement cut to rural physicians, ambulance services, low-volume hospitals, and others until 2014. However, effective April 1, 2013, reimbursement rates will be cut by 25% for certain therapy services. Reimbursement rates will also be cut for certain advanced imaging services in 2014. While the long-term effects of these provisions are unclear, Congress has delayed the worst for physicians for the time being.

© 2013 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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