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Medicare standards delay bill heads to House floor

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The House is treating a package of efforts to delay enforcement of Medicare standards as noncontroversial.

The House is preparing to consider the package, S. 1347, on Wednesday, using the “suspension of rules” process, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The House uses the suspension calendar to handle matters that House leaders classify as being noncontroversial.

The Senate approved S. 1347, the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 bill, in August through a vote held under the Senate’s unanimous consent process.

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Provisions in the bill would help health insurers and health care providers put off having to comply with a number of Medicare program standards.

One provision would delay the date when Medicare program managers have the authority to end the Medicare Advantage contracts of plans with low star ratings at least through the end of the 2019 plan year.

See also: Medicare bills head to House floor

A second provision would let doctors and hospitals that serve Medicare patients apply for an easy-to-get “significant hardship exception” to comply with electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use requirements for 2017. For years after 2017, Medicare could still review providers’ applications for EHR use hardship exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

Other bill provisions would create new Medicare plan enrollment reporting requirements; protect the current payment levels for “wheelchair accesories and seat and back cushions when furnished in connection with complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs;” and keep Medicare from classifying fees for certain radiation therapy services as being potentially misvalued.

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