The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a temporary fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) for one year in a bill that also delays ICD-10 implementation until at least October 2015 and postpones hospital compliance with the controversial “two-midnight rule”and recovery audits of medically unnecessary claims until March 2015.
The last-minute voice vote, arranged under special rules that provided for no amendments and limited debate, needed only a two-thirds majority (290) vote.
The bill still needs approval of the Senate before Congress’ deadline of midnight on Monday, March 31.
In a move that came as a surprise to many in the healthcare industry, late Tuesday night lawmakers pitched the new bill that provides the SGR patch but also lumped in a delay to ICD-10, the two-midnight rule and recovery audits of medically unnecessary claims through March 31, 2015. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid negotiated the last-minute fix.
Boehner told Politico that he was confident that he could get GOP support for the short-term patch, but also needed dozens of Democrats to back it as well.
But many in the healthcare industry oppose the latest bill. The American Medical Association urged its members to contact their representatives and tell them to vote no on temporary fixes.
And the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) and the National Taxpayers Union said in a statement that the legislation would “nullify the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s Recovery Auditing Contractors program by delaying implementation of the two-midnight rule and, more alarmingly, suspending recovery audits of medically unnecessary and improper healthcare claims through March 31st, 2015.”
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