Since 2006, we have been sitting on pins and needles at the end of each year wondering if there will be another extension of the Medicare Part B exceptions process. Did you notice that in December of 2014, it was quiet? You didn’t hear provider groups, Functional Pathways included, encouraging you to reach out, like in previous times, to our Congressmen and Women begging for an extension to the exception process or better yet, repeal of the Medicare Part B therapy caps altogether. Some felt burdened by the request, yet others jumped right in, wrote letters and made phone calls, and even visited some members of Congress to advocate for Medicare Part B beneficiaries.
March 31, 2015, the extension of the exceptions process will once again “expire” and Medicare beneficiaries will face a ‘hard cap’ on how much money they can spend per calendar year on necessary therapy services. A ‘hard cap’ means that once they hit a certain dollar amount, that’s it. No more therapy services will be covered under Medicare Part B until the next calendar year. That seems fair, doesn’t it??
Our most vulnerable population, our elderly, our geriatric population, will be at risk for adverse functional outcomes, further decline, or even death due to complications of immobility, choking, and pressure sores. Some of these folks do not have anyone to fight for them, no one to speak for them, no one to care for them. But WE have the ability to speak on their behalf! It is our Responsibility to not only care for our residents, but also to ensure they are able to utilize the very services they rightfully deserve and have paid for.
We truly care about the welfare and wellbeing of our residents as if they were our own family members. We take complete Responsibility for ourselves, our residents, and our colleagues. An element of caring for Part B beneficiaries is to be a part of a united front to preserve their Medicare Part B benefit.
Within the next few weeks or so, if it’s in your heart to make a stand, go ahead and make your voice heard! Here at Functional Pathways, we always do what we say we will do!
Director of Compliance