The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) announced that Congress has passed a bill that will postpone the 2% cuts in Medicare Part B reimbursement through the remainder of 2021, pending President Biden’s signature into law. The action extends a moratorium preventing reductions in reimbursement for audiology and speech-language pathology services, which were scheduled for implementation on April 1, according to ASHA. The planned reimbursement cuts were the result of a 2011 law requiring automatic reductions in programs, such as Medicare, to impose fiscal restraint on federal spending, referred to as sequestration.
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HR 1868, sponsored by Rep. John A. Yarmuth (D-KY), extends the sequestration through December 31, 2021.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that it would temporarily hold claims for dates of service on or after April 1 to avoid reprocessing claims and creating confusion for clinicians in anticipation of congressional action on the bill. The bill extends the moratorium throughout 2021 and is retroactive to April 1. Clinicians should contact their local Medicare administrative contractor for questions about specific claims.
According to its announcement, ASHA advocated to stop these cuts through meetings with House and Senate members, supporting members of Congress who introduced legislation, signing letters urging extension of the moratorium, and participating in coalition efforts to delay the cuts through the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. ASHA says it “is pleased that Congress took action to delay the cuts, which will allow additional time to advocate for a long-term solution.”