21st Century Cures Act moves to the House—with provision to kill the PC MPPR

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The 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) unanimously passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today, and it includes a provision to repeal radiology's much-reviled 25% professional component multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR).

The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill, which was introduced by Energy and Commerce Committee chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), in June.

"This historic day marks a big bipartisan step forward on our path to cures," Upton said in an official statement. "We have all said too many early goodbyes to people we love and treasure. Every single person has a common goal: we want more time with those we love. In this, the greatest country in the world, Americans deserve a system second to none. We can and must do better. The time for 21st Century Cures is now."

The bill includes an increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), changes to the authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and touches on a wide range of issues related to the healthcare industry.

It also includes a provision backed by the ACR that would repeal a 25% professional component MPPR mandated under the 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.

“The College and its members have long advocated for a repeal of this severely flawed policy,” the ACR said in a public statement.

As might be expected of legislation with broad impact across healthcare, the bill has drawn its fair share of criticism as well. The American Hospital Association (AHA), for example, wrote a letter to Upton detailing its concerns about  interoperability provisions found within the bill, saying they are “heavy-handed” and could establish “an environment where well-intentioned providers face significant penalties for small mistakes.”

In addition, College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) leaders wrote their own letter that pointed out concerns over the bill’s lack of patient identification improvements.

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) had its own problems with the bill, saying it did nothing in regards to telemedicine but hit “the snooze button.”