Congress Passes Two Month Rate Freeze

Thanks to all the political pressure, including those of you who reached out to your Representatives this week, the House Republicans joined the rest of the House to pass the Senate bill extending the payroll tax cut for two months. This bill also freezes the current Medicare rates and avoids the 27% cut (at least until March).
The President is expected to sign the bill today. This means that a House-Senate conference committee will be established to negotiate a longer-term patch on the payroll tax cut and the Medicare payment rate. House leaders have already named the members of that committee (below). Senate appointees will be made in the coming week or so.
For us this means Medicare reimbursement rates will be frozen at current rates and the 27% cut scheduled for January will not take effect until March unless a new deal is reached between now and then. However, the therapy cap exceptions process is not part of this two month bill and as of now still expires January 1. Therefore, we will need to lobby the conference committee to include it in the year-long package.

Relaxation of Version 5010 Testing Review Requirement

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Friday, December 23, that it would allow Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to have the ability to relax the testing review requirement stated in the Medicare Claims Processing Manual, Chapter 24 General EDI and EDI Support Requirements, Section 50.5 EDI Testing Accuracy.  This announcement allows trading partners to request transition into version 5010 production status without the full review of electronic test claims.