On December 28, 2015, President Obama signed into law S. 2425, the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, which includes a number of Medicare provisions that were not included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Most significantly, the law:
- Extends the timeframe for eligible professionals and hospitals to apply for a hardship exception from meaningful use penalties that would be assessed in 2017. Specifically, the new deadline for eligible professionals is March 15, 2016, and the deadline for hospitals is April 1, 2016.
- Prevents the HHS Secretary from using competitive bidding rates to adjust Medicare fee schedule amounts for wheelchair accessories and seat and back cushions when furnished in connection with Group 3 complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs before January 1, 2017.
- Revises Medicare physician fee schedule payment for radiation treatment delivery and related imaging services (HCPCS codes G6001-G6015) by mandating that CMS apply the same code definitions, work relative value units (RVUs) and direct inputs for the practice expense RVUs in 2017 and 2018 as apply in 2016. It also requires the Secretary to submit a report to Congress on the development of an episodic alternative payment model for Medicare payment for radiation therapy services furnished in nonfacility settings.
- Authorizes the Secretary to adjust award fees to Medicare Administrative Contractors based on improper payment error rates in their jurisdictions beginning three years after enactment.
- Strengthens penalties for illegal distribution of Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP beneficiary identification cards or provider
- Requires the Secretary to establish a plan to facilitate the participation of states in the Medicare-Medicaid Data Match Program and provides states with additional data regarding improper payments made for items or services provided to dual eligible individuals.