Friday, April 16, 2010

Eligible provider fix along with temporary SGR fix

The president has signed H.R. 4851 into law. The bill was approved by the Senate on a 59-38 vote and by the House on a 289-122 vote. This will provide a temporary delay on a 21% cut in Medicare physician payments until June.

There is an important section on clarification of the definition of an eligible provider (which was a serious flaw in the NPRM) being able to participate in Medicare incentive payments for achieving meaningful use. I am very please to see this language clarified so that we do not need to rely on the rule making process for this to fixed, since it is now handled legislatively. The section pertaining to eligible providers is:
SEC. 5. EHR CLARIFICATION.
(a) Qualification for Clinic-based Physicians-
(1) MEDICARE- Section 1848(o)(1)(C)(ii) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w-4(o)(1)(C)(ii)) is amended by striking `setting (whether inpatient or outpatient)' and inserting `inpatient or emergency room setting'.
(2) MEDICAID- Section 1903(t)(3)(D) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396b(t)(3)(D)) is amended by striking `setting (whether inpatient or outpatient)' and inserting `inpatient or emergency room setting'.
(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsection (a) shall be effective as if included in the enactment of the HITECH Act (included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5)).
(c) Implementation- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services may implement the amendments made by this section by program instruction or otherwise.