CMS Temporarily Holds Applying Sequester Cuts

While the extended moratorium on the 2% cuts officially ends April 1, CMS will continue holding off on applying them while Congress finishes related legislative action.

Because Congress is in the middle of deciding legislation that could extend the moratorium on the 2 percent Medicare sequester cuts, CMS announced that it would hold on applying those cuts to claims dated April 1 and beyond.

“In anticipation of possible Congressional action to extend the 2 percent sequester reduction suspension, we instructed the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to hold all claims with dates of service on or after April 1, 2021, for a short period without affecting providers’ cash flow,” CMS stated in a special edition of its MLN Connects newsletter. “This will minimize the volume of claims the MACs must reprocess if Congress extends the suspension; the MACs will automatically reprocess any claims paid with the reduction applied if necessary.”

Last week, the Senate voted to pass S.748, which would extend the moratorium on the 2 percent Medicare sequester cuts until the end of the year. The moratorium was slated to expire on March 31.

The Senate legislation was a compromise version of H.R. 1868, which the House approved late last week. The House legislation would extend the moratorium until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency and would also waive the 2010 Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) cuts for the fiscal year 2022.

Because the bills differ, S.748 now goes to the House, which will consider it when it returns from recess on April 13. If it passes there, the legislation then goes to President Biden to be signed into law.

“Thanks to the strong grassroots advocacy of the HME community and coordinated efforts of our coalition partners, healthcare providers are poised to receive much-needed relief to help offset the increased costs and operational challenges we face in this pandemic for another nine months,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare. “Leaders on Capitol Hill who have made this issue a priority also deserve credit, especially Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Susan Collins as well as Representatives Brad Schneider, David McKinley, and John Yarmuth.”

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