The Senate adjourned early this morning for a two-week recess after concluding work on its fiscal year 2016 budget resolution, without voting on H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. H.R. 2 would replace the Medicare physician sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,said the chamber will take up the bill when it returns on April 13. He expects it to pass.

The House Thursday passed the legislation. 

In a March 26 letter, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock urged senators to approve the bill. “While we are disappointed that hospitals would be looked to as an offset given that Medicare already pays less than the cost of delivering services to beneficiaries, the package strikes a careful balance in the way it funds the SGR repeal and embraces a number of structural reforms to the Medicare program,” he wrote. “…We commend the Senate Republican and Democratic Finance Committee leadership on their design of the reform of Medicare physician payment in this package, and urge the Senate to pass it.”

The current SGR patch expires March 31. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services plans to update providers on contingency plans by April 11, noting that electronic claims are paid at least 14 calendar days after receipt and paper claims at least 29 days after receipt.

For a summary of the bill’s provisions impacting health care providers, see the AHA’s March 24 Special Bulletin for members.

Nine national hospital organizations, including the AHA, yesterday expressed support for H.R. 2.