Are we there yet?

No kids, no we aren’t. We are approaching halfway though, so that’s something to write home about.

The next Subtitle – B – Improving Medicare for Patients and Providers. You might ask yourself, weren’t we already doing that? Apparently not.

Poor section 3101 was repealed before she even got to become enacted. And it was apparently about physician pay. Sorry docs!

Section 3102 has a really long title. Extension of the Work Geographic Floor and Revisions to the Practice Expense Geographic Adjustment Under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. To summarize – they are changing how much they increase the payments to physicians who live in more expensive parts of the country. And then they will study whether they are doing the right thing on that. (You’ll be happy to know that this was continued in the recent “Fiscal Cliff” law.

Section 3103 extended for 1 year the exceptions process for Medicare therapy caps. But that was until December 31, 2010. So it could be moot at this point. Same for Section 3104, the extension of payment for technological component of certain physician pathology services. And 3105 – Ambulance Add-Ons. 3106 – extension of certain payment rules for long-term care hospital services and of moratorium on the establishment of certain hospitals and facilities. That one at least got until 2012. (All extended in the “Fiscal Cliff” Bill. )

3107 – Physican Fee Schedule Mental Health Add-On, we don’t know if you are still going strong. (You are! “Fiscal Cliff” Law to the rescue.)

3108 allows Physician Assistants to order post-hospital extended-care services.

3109 exempts certain pharmacies from accreditation requirements. These are pharmacies that don’t do much Medicare billing or only provide durable medical equipment, orthotics or prosthetics. So they don’t have to provide all of the things that other Medicare pharmacies would have to.

3110 gives a special enrollment period for Medicare Part B to Disabled Tricare Beneficiaries. They are very particular about stating that this is only open to you once in a lifetime. Tricare, for those of you who don’t know, is the military health insurance.

3111 pays for Bone Density Tests.

3112 takes $22,290,000,000 out of the Medicare Improvement Fund. No explanation given there.

3113 is a demonstration project for complex laboratory testing namely gene protein expression, topographic genotyping, or a cancer chemotherapy sensitivity assay.

3114 improves access for nurse-midwife services by increasing payment from 65% to 100%. You might be wondering why Medicare pays for nurse-midwives in the first place, but you would then be reminded that Medicare covers people under 65 who have been determined to have a disability.

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