Marilyn Tavenner, acting
administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, received a letter from members of Congress on April 19 that asked
CMS to direct cuts away from
Senate leaders plan to introduce a bill this week that would eliminate sequester cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year. These cuts went into effect
for Medicare providers on April 1, 2013.
Sequestration has impacted health care in various ways. Hospitals across the country have reported that they have laid off employees as a result of sequestration and other Medicare cuts. Most private practices continue to look for ways to trim costs, including varying their patient mix and offering new services. Sequester cuts also impact the budgets of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration.
“It’s important to note, despite the plans to accelerate this proposed sequestration legislation, the full Senate is not expected to vote on it until early May,” said Catherine French, AANEM medical economic affairs senior analyst.
Additionally, Congress needs to address the future of the sustainable growth rate formula used to set yearly Medicare payment rates. If no action is taken before January 1, 2014, a 24.4% cut in Medicare reimbursement is scheduled to take effect.
“Of course, cuts of this magnitude would have a crippling impact on an already fragile system,” said French.
The AANEM continues to monitor developments related to sequestration and other health care economic initiatives. For the most recent updates, visit www.aanem.org/about-us/news.aspx