For Immediate Release:
December 3, 2020
NHPCO Applauds Legislation to Extend Sequestration Moratorium
Suspension of Sequestration Set to Expire on December 31, 2020
(Alexandria, Va) – The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) thanks Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) and David McKinley (R-WV-1) for introducing the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act, H.R. 8840 legislation that will extend the suspension of the two percent Medicare sequestration payment reductions through the COVID-19 public health emergency period.
One of the many relief efforts that hospice providers benefited from are contained in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act, is a hiatus of sequestration as it applies to Medicare payments. Due to previous federal legislation in 2013, a 2.0% reduction in most Medicare spending was implemented, and as a result, hospice providers experienced that 2.0% reduction in their reimbursement.
The moratorium on the sequester payment reductions has allowed for additional reimbursement for Medicare providers, helping to support health care providers across the nation which are experiencing lost revenues and extraordinary expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that suspension is only in effect until December 31, 2020. This legislation would allow for sequestration relief to coincide with the end of the Public Health Emergency and not the end of the 2020 calendar year.
“Hospices are facing significant hardship as they continue to serve patients and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. NHPCO is thankful for the actions of Representatives Schneider and McKinley in calling on Congress to help providers by extending the moratorium on sequester payment reductions. If not extended through the Public Health Emergency, this drop in payment will have a devastating impact on hospice providers already hit hard by COVID-19,” said Edo Banach, President and CEO of NHPCO.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge across the country placing increasing stress on U.S. health care providers who are already stretched beyond measure, it is imperative that any future COVID-19 legislative package include resources to address the financial viability of providers, protect patient and staff safety, and mitigate losses to ensure access to care throughout the crisis and into the future.
In October NHPCO lead a coalition letter in support of extending the sequestration moratorium – download the coalition letter.
NHPCO offers free information and resources to help providers address the COVID-19 public health emergency.