Update on Sustainable Growth Rate Legislation

Clifton J. Porter

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, permanently fixing the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and getting us closer to the much-needed stability for the long term and post-acute care profession. The legislation passed by a vote of 392-37, with 212 Republicans and 180 Democrats supporting the measure.

Now the bill will go to the Senate where it faces a tough uphill battle because of the Senate schedule. The Senate is currently voting on budgetary amendments in a session known as the "vote-o-rama." Senators will be voting late into the night tonight and possibly until Friday. Only after the "vote-o-rama" is finished can the SGR bill be brought to the Senate floor for consideration. The Senate then takes a holiday recess for the next two weeks.

We need your help to tell the Senate to take up the SGR fix this week. If you have a strong relationship with either of your Senators, please contact them and tell them to support the permanent SGR repeal.

AHCA/NCAL has developed talking points to help with your outreach, which is vital, especially now. Every hour counts! This is the closest Congress has come to permanently fixing the SGR, a debacle that has cut nearly $27 billion from skilled nursing over the past 17 patches.

If the Senate cannot pass the House package before the March 31 deadline, they will have to either pass a short-term fix to be approved by the House, or let the SGR expire, forcing CMS to hold claims until legislation is passed.

If a bill does not get passed, CMS will provide an update by April 11, "with more information about the status of congressional action to avert the negative update and next steps." AHCA will brief you on this situation if it occurs and as more details emerge.