Sequestration was delayed so that means health care providers will avoid 2% cuts in Medicare payments. However, the act contains significant provider cuts to pay for spending increases and delay sequestration. Congress still has work to do and if they complete a budget prior to March 1, 2013 sequestration will be eliminated but cuts could exceed the 2% contained in sequestration and the action taken on New Year’s Day support this thought.
Physicians were set to have their Medicare payments reduced by 28% on January 1, 2013 but the “cliff” deal delayd that cut by one year. That’s great for physicians but Medicare was cut in other areas to offset the payment to physicians.
Medicare Dependent Hospital Status was extended which is great news for many rural hospitals. Medicare low volume payments were extended. The exception process for outpatient therapy services was extended through 2013. Ambulance add on payments for rural ambulances was extended.
I know most of what I outlined above may not make sense to you but just know that they are important in terms of “business as usual”. The extensions I mentioned above are important for rural hospitals like GVMH but it’s too soon to celebrate because looming cuts may exceed any benefit of the above extensions.