President Biden Wednesday signed legislation extending the moratorium on Medicare sequestration. That occurred after the U.S. House of Representatives late Tuesday passed the Medicare Sequester Relief Act, which extended mandated 2% Medicare cuts to healthcare providers until the end of the year.

The Partnership for Home Healthcare said the extension will give providers additional breathing room as they continue to battle fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and adapt to the new Patient Driven Grouping Model (PDGM) payment system.

“While the COVID-19 crisis has underscored the value of care delivery in the home, providers continue to struggle with the impacts of the 4.3% PDGM payment cut that took effect in 2020 and again in 2021,” Joanne Cunningham, executive director of the Partnership, said. “The sequestration moratorium provided by Congress has been incredibly valuable to the home health sector due to the challenges of providing care during the (public health emergency), coupled with the PDGM payment cuts this year and last. The continued relief will help stabilize the delivery of home care to Medicare’s most vulnerable seniors,” 

In March of 2020, Congress temporarily halted the 2% Medicare cuts until the end of last year as part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It extended them again until March 31.  A few days before the cuts were to take effect again, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to extend them further.

Sequestration was part of the Budget Control Act of 2011. The cut is imposed on the 80% allowed charge that healthcare providers received directly from Medicare.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) paused claim payments in anticipation of the moratorium being extended again