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House and Senate Approve Payroll Tax Conference Report

In votes taken Friday morning, the House and Senate approved the Payroll Tax Conference Committee's Conference Report extending a number of rural Medicare Extenders and updating the sustainable growth rate (SGR).  Several of these critical rural Medicare provisions were seriously threatened in recent months but, because of your advocacy and persistence, NRHA was successful in making sure a number of the provisions were included in the final package:
  • Ten-month extension of outpatient hold-harmless provision for hospitals under 100 beds.
  • Ten-month extension of the current geographic practice cost index
  • Ten-month update of the sustainable growth rate (SGR)
  • Ten-month extension of the current payment levels for rural ambulance providers
  • Four-month extension of current “508 Hospital” wage index reclassification
  • Four-month extension of the current technical component for pathology lab services
While the inclusion of these provisions denotes a significant victory, NRHA remains concerned that some rural provisions, which expire at other points of 2012, were not included. NRHA is also concerned with reductions in "bad debt" reimbursements contained in this report. NRHA continues to fight for the permanent codification of all expiring provisions and will continue to work to make sure rural providers are adequately and equitably reimbursed within the Medicare program. Continued vigilance and advocacy by rural health advocates remains critical.  Please contact NRHA government affairs at (202) 639-0550 with any questions about the Conference Report.

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