No sequestration in 2021

Congress extends sequestration suspension through the end of the year

Congressional action has cleared the way for Medicare claims with service dates of April 1 or later to be paid, ending a temporary hold on reimbursement ordered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the beginning of the month. The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday night to continue the suspension of a 2 percent penalty on Medicare reimbursement known as "sequestration," which has been in effect since 2011. "This is good news for agencies because it means they will continue to see an extra 2 percent in their reimbursement at least through the rest of 2021, since sequestration has been suspended until the end of the year," said J'non Griffin, President of Home Health Solutions - A Simione Coding Company. The punitive adjustment has been suspended twice during the Covid-19 public health emergency, first under the CARES Act in 2020 and later under a 2021 government funding bill. However, the suspension granted under the 2021 legislation ended March 31. "CMS didn't want to issue payment with sequestration back in place and then have to go back and reprocess those claims with the 2 percent added back in once Congress acted," Griffin said. "So it placed claims on temporary hold until Congress could review this." Legislation passed Tuesday night will now go to President Biden to be signed into law before CMS can officially lift the temporary hold, but Griffin said that should happen quickly. The Senate had previously passed the version of the legislation approved Tuesday night by the House.