July 1, 2008 — The House of Representatives voted 355-59 to support the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, which will block a July 1 physician pay cut, an article in The Hill says. The bill, HR 6331, maintains the current payment rate, prevents the 10.6 percent cut, and increases physician pay by 1.1 percent in 2009.
HR 6331 also delays for 18 months the Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, scheduled to take effect July 1, The Hill says.
The bill includes several other important provisions:
• Extending the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility grant program;
• Providing rebasing for sole community hospitals;
• Extending and expanding the outpatient hold-harmless provision for small rural and sole community hospitals;
• Extending Section 508 reclassification; and
• Allowing critical access hospitals to receive 101 percent of reasonable costs for clinical lab services whether the specimen was taken at the hospital or off-site.
Source: Medical Newswire, www.medicalnewswire.com