On February 9, 2018, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA), a comprehensive piece of legislation that provides for a two-year budget agreement and funds the federal government through March 23, 2018. The BBA’s sweeping measures address federal spending for the military, domestic programs, and disaster relief, and contain several provisions impacting federal healthcare programs. Among other things, the BBA:
- Permanently repealed the Medicare payment cap for therapy services;
- Expanded certain telehealth services;
- Eliminated the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) under the Affordable Care Act;
- Postponed cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments for another two years;
- Removed the requirement that drug reimbursements be included when calculating MIPS payment adjustments;
- Extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for an additional four years beyond the previous Continuing Resolution’s six-year extension;
- Removed from the Social Security Act language mandating that HHS require more stringent measures of meaningful use, thus reducing the volume of future EHR-related significant hardship requests; and
- Included a $6 billion increase in funding for opioid abuse and mental health treatment.
To find out how this may further affect healthcare professionals, hospitals and medical practices please click below.