December 28, 2015
Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 1321, S. 2425
On Monday, December 28, 2015, the President Obama signed into law:
S. 2425, the “Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act,” which makes changes to Medicare payments for certain complex rehabilitation technology and radiation therapy services, provide flexibility in applying a hardship exception from meaningful use of electronic health records, and improve Medicare and Medicaid program integrity.
Radiation Therapy Alliance Commends Congress for Passing Legislation to Ensure Access to Radiation Therapy Care for Nation’s Cancer Patients
Legislation is essential step to achieving lasting payment stability for needed cancer care services
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Radiation Therapy Alliance (RTA) – a non-profit organization representing freestanding radiation therapy centers that is dedicated to working with policymakers to advance logical, predictable payment reform to ensure patient access to quality cancer care – today commended lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for passing the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act (S. 2425).
The legislation provides payment stability to freestanding radiation therapy centers by freezing Medicare payment rates for the sector in 2017 and 2018 as it transitions to a new, episodic alternative payment model in 2019. The legislation also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to submit to Congress a report on the development of an episodic alternative payment model for payment under the Medicare program within 18 months.
The RTA thanked Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dan Coats (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representatives Tom Price (R-GA), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Kevin Brady (R-TX), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), James Clyburn (D-SC), Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Jim McDermott (D-WA) for their leadership in advancing this vital cancer care legislation.
“The RTA applauds Congress for passing this critical legislation which will ensure patient access to freestanding radiation therapy services across the country,” said Christopher M. Rose, MD, FASTRO, RTA Policy Chair. “Consistent with the legislation, we look forward to working with CMS to craft an Alternative Payment Model for radiation oncology that will ensure access while improving the efficiency and quality of care to Medicare patients.”
Freestanding radiation therapy centers offer patients access to treatments for prostate, breast, lung and other cancers in a convenient and comfortable outpatient setting closer to home, removing the burden of traveling to distant hospitals or specialty centers.
For more: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/radiation-therapy-alliance-commends-congress-for-passing-legislation-to-ensure-access-to-radiation-therapy-care-for-nations-cancer-patients-300195540.html
Congress Simplifies MU Hardship Exemption Process
AAFP Strongly Supported New Legislation
December 22, 2015 03:42 pm – AAFP
Congress provided a bit of end-of-the year cheer to America’s physicians on Dec. 18 when the U.S. House and Senate passed the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act(www.congress.gov) with the AAFP’s strong support.
The bill includes a provision that gives CMS the authority — for the next few months — to expedite applications from physicians for a hardship exemption related to meaningful use stage two requirements for the 2015 calendar year.
The expedited “categorical authority” applies only to hardship exemption applications filed before March 15, 2016. Stay tuned for more information on the application process as it becomes available from CMS.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and is widely expected to be signed by the President.
“This heralds a reprieve to physician practices that are unable to successfully attest to meaningful use for 2015, through no fault of their own,” said AAFP President Wanda Filer, M.D., M.B.A., in a Dec. 21 statement about the legislation.
Passage of the bill is important to many family physicians because under current law, physicians participating in the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs(www.federalregister.gov) must attest to meeting meaningful use stage two requirements for 90 consecutive days in 2015.
Obamacare Sign-Ups Reach 8.3 Million in 2015
December 23, 2015 By Zachary Tracer – insurancejournal
About 8.3 million people have signed up for health coverage through Obamacare’s U.S.-run shopping markets this year, the U.S. said Tuesday, surpassing last year’s total and signaling good news for hospital and health insurance companies.
At about the same point in the enrollment period last year, 6.4 million people had signed up. The U.S. report counts enrollees for 2016 coverage as of Dec. 19 in 38 states that use the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. It’s the most comprehensive accounting since a Dec. 17 deadline for people to pick coverage that begins at the start of 2016.
Sign-ups this year are an important indication of how President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul is faring ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Medicare, Medicaid turns 50
As part of the 50th anniversary celebration for these programs, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is collecting stories of how Medicare and Medicaid have made a difference for everyday Americans.
Please visit Medicare.gov/anniversary/share-your-story to share your Medicare or Medicaid story.
- Medicare and Medicaid: keeping Americans healthy for 50 years (blog)
- Making Medicare make sense (Q&A)
- Before 1966, roughly half of all seniors had no health insurance. Today, nearly all seniors are covered by Medicare, or Medicare & Medicaid together.
- July 29, 2015 Presidential Proclamation — 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid
- Share your story about how Medicare or Medicaid has helped you