Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) called on HHS to delay enforcement of certain therapy caps, which limit how much Medicare pays for outpatient services such as speech and physical therapy.
Congress routinely has placed a moratorium on the caps, but this year a measure that would do so has yet to pass the Senate. The cap went into effect July 1. In a letter to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, Baucus said that HHS should voluntarily place a moratorium on the payment limits and delay processing claims to avoid disruption, dislocation and injury to Medicare beneficiaries.
The caps affect an estimated 700,000 Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom reside in skilled-nursing facilities, Baucus said. Without the exception process, their Medicare therapy benefit will end, he added.
A provision to stay the caps was part of a broader Medicare bill, which Congress failed to pass before their Independence Day recess. -- by Matthew DoBias