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March 2010
Policy and Advocacy
Final Health Reform Bill Includes ID-Related Provisions

The health care reform bill President Obama signed into law March 23 includes several provisions related to IDSA’s priorities that will affect ID clinicians in the months and years ahead. Please see next month’s issue of IDSA News for more analysis of the final legislation and how it will affect you and your patients.

A brief summary is below. The bill includes measures related to prevention and wellness, which will:

  • Expand coverage of all vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in all private plans, Medicare, and Medicaid
  • Reauthorize the Section 317 program, which provides funding for immunizations
  • Create a Prevention and Wellness Fund, which will provide an additional $7 billion over 10 years for prevention and wellness activities
  • Establish new federal grants at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist in surveillance and response to infectious diseases

The legislation also calls for a study of how expanding coverage of all vaccines under Medicare Part D would affect access. Other provisions will establish testing of new physician payment models, such as bundled payments, payments through accountable care organizations (ACOs), and the use of quality measures and cost-of-care models to determine payments.

The final health reform package did not address the need for a permanent fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) under the Medicare physician reimbursement system. Physicians will see a 21 percent across-the-board cut in their Medicare payments due to Congress’ failure to pass another short-term fix before the current fix expires on April 1. Given that Congressional action on this issue is a near certainty, however, Medicare has instructed its contractors to hold claims for two weeks, providing more time for Congress to pass a short-term fix. For updates, please see IDSA’s website.

For analysis of the final health care reform legislation from the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), please click here.
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