The Senate recently passed a bill by unanimous consent that would continue the existing 2.2% Medicare payment update that expires November 30 for an additional month–through December 31.

The Physician Payment and Therapy Relief Act of 2010 (PPTRA) would also codify a modification of the multiple payment procedure reduction (MPPR) finalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this month by applying a 20% reduction, rather than the 25% reduction in the final rule, to the practice expense component for the second and subsequent outpatient therapy services for services paid under the physician fee schedule (PFS) that are furnished in the office setting.

The savings would not be distributed on a budget neutral basis as in the final rule, but would be used instead as savings to offset the cost of the 1-month extension.

The position of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Alexandria, Va, on the MPPR is for total withdrawal of the policy, due to strong data and support that codes used by physical therapists are appropriately valued through the AMA RUC process and that duplication of values due to utilization of multiple procedures in a single visit are accounted for in the practice expense relative value units (RVUs). APTA will continue to fight the application of an MPPR policy for therapy services at the regulatory and legislative levels. However, APTA will not oppose PPTRA due to the update in payments by continuing the 2.2% update for December 2010 and the diminishing of the practice expense reduction from 25% to 20%.

PPTRA has been sent to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to be voted on when Congress returns after Thanksgiving. APTA will also continue to work with Congress to pass legislation to address the extension of the therapy cap exceptions process and to avoid the January 1, 2011, sustainable growth rate payment cut, which is projected at 25%

[Source: APTA]