The Senate Finance Committee today passed the Audit & Appeal Fairness, Integrity, and Reforms in Medicare (AFIRM) Act of 2015, an original bill to improve the Medicare audit and appeals process.
“Today, the Committee took an important bipartisan step toward streamlining the Medicare audit and appeals process to help healthcare providers better serve millions of patients across the nation,” said committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “This is a common sense bill that will help untangle the web of red tape that ensnares the current audit and appeals process and guarantee Medicare patients continue to have access to high-quality care. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move this bill forward.”
The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) has been pushing for such legislation for years. Working closely with Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), NCMS Past President Robert Monteiro, MD, testified in March 2014 before a special meeting of key Senate Finance Committee staff hosted by Sen. Orrin Hatch. Dr. Monteiro detailed his practice’s experience with a flawed RAC audit and the financial hardship it caused.
This latest progress on Capitol Hill comes just more than a week after Rep. George Holding (R-NC) introduced a RAC reform bill in the House. Holding’s legislation “The Fair Medical Audits Act of 2015” reflects years of effort by the NCMS working with the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) to address many concerns physicians throughout the country have with the extraordinary lack of transparency and expensive, time-consuming and often unfair processes plaguing the current Medicare audit program.
“It seems the momentum to make these necessary reforms is building in Washington, D.C.,” said NCMS CEO Robert W. Seligson. “We applaud Sen. Burr and Rep. Holding as well as the members of the Senate Finance Committee for making this a priority. We look forward to working with our Congressional delegation to make these reforms a reality for the doctors of North Carolina.”
An executive summary of the committee markup will be posted here.
Additional information on the AFIRM Act can be found here.
Watch your email and the NCMS Bulletin for updates on this important issue.