Association News

US Senate Votes to Approve Bill to Repeal SGR, Therapy Cap Remains

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A news story from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website reports on the US Senate’s recent vote to approve a bill intended to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) and move toward payment systems based on quality. The vote does not, however, end the Medicare outpatient therapy cap, according to the story. The therapy cap repeal amendment was defeated by a 58-42 vote, just short of the 60 votes required for passage.

The news story notes that instead of a full repeal, the therapy cap exceptions process will extend until December 31, 2017.

The story says that the vote on the SGR ends a system for payment that would have resulted in 21% reductions in Medicare payments to providers. The bill approved by the Senate passed with a 92-8 vote.

According to the story, the effort to include an amendment to end the therapy cap was led by Sen Ben Cardin (D, Md) and Sen David Vitter (R, La). The story also points out that the amendment was a key focus for APTA, its members, supporters, and other organizations, urging senators to vote in favor.

Justin Moore, PT, DPT, APTA executive vice president of public affairs, notes in the release that ending the SGR is good news, particularly since it is helping transform payment models.

“We are of course disappointed that the therapy cap repeal effort was not successful, but thanks to the hard work of APTA members and supporters, we were able to seize an historic moment and move this issue closer to the goal line than at any time in the 18-year history of the cap. We will capitalize on this energy, unity, and momentum, and will never stop working for the best interests of patients,” Moore says.

[Source: APTA]