P.L. 112–96, Approved February 22, 2012 (126 Stat. 156)

Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SECTION. 1. [19 U.S.C. 2101 note]  SHORT TITLE.

(a)  This Act may be cited as the “Middle Class Tax and Job Creation Act of 2012”.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 2104. [42 U.S.C. 653a note]  DATA EXCHANGE STANDARDIZATION FOR IMPROVED INTEROPERABILITY.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(b)  Effective dates.—

(1)  Data exchange standards.— The Secretary of Labor shall issue a proposed rule under section 911(a)(1) of the Social Security Act (as added by subsection (a)) within 12 months after the date of the enactment of this section, and shall issue a final rule under such section 911(a)(1), after public comment, within 24 months after such date of enactment.

(2)  Data reporting standards.— The reporting standards required under section 911(b)(1) of such Act (as so added) shall become effective with respect to reports required in the first reporting period, after the effective date of the final rule referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection, for which the authority for data collection and reporting is established or renewed under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 2161. [None Assigned] TREATMENT OF SHORT-TIME COMPENSATION PROGRAMS.

(a) 

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(3) [26 U.S.C. 3306 note]  Transition period for existing programs.—In the case of a State that is administering a short-time compensation program as of the date of the enactment of this Act and the State law cannot be administered consistent with the amendment made by paragraph (1), such amendment shall take effect on the earlier of—

(A)  the date the State changes its State law in order to be consistent with such amendment; or

(B)  the date that is 2 years and 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 3001. [42 U.S.C. 1395ww note]  EXTENSION OF MMA SECTION 508 RECLASSIFICATIONS.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(b)  Special Rule.—

Subject to paragraph (2), for purposes of implementation of the amendment made by subsection (a), including for purposes of the implementation of paragraph (2) of section 117(a) of the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (Public Law 110–173), for the period beginning on December 1, 2011, and ending on March 31, 2012, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall use the hospital wage index that was promulgated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Federal Register on August 18, 2011 (76 Fed. Reg. 51476), and any subsequent corrections.

(2)  Exception.—In determining the wage index applicable to hospitals that qualify for wage index reclassification, the Secretary shall, for the period described in paragraph (1), include the average hourly wage data of hospitals whose reclassification was extended pursuant to the amendment made by subsection (a) only if including such data results in a higher applicable reclassified wage index. Any revision to hospital wage indexes made as a result of this paragraph shall not be effected in a budget neutral manner.

(c) Timeframe for Payments.—

(1)  In general.—The Secretary shall make payments required under subsections (a) and (b) by not later than June 30, 2012.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 3002. [42 U.S.C. 653a note]  EXTENSION OF OUTPATIENT HOLD HARMLESS PAYMENTS.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(b)  Report.— Not later than July 1, 2012, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit to the Committees on Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report including recommendations for which types of hospitals should continue to receive hold harmless payments described in subclauses (II) and (III) of section 1833(t)(7)(D)(i) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l(t)(7)(D)(i)) in order to maintain adequate beneficiary access to outpatient services. In conducting such report, the Secretary should examine why some similarly situated hospitals do not receive such hold harmless payments and are able to rely only on the prospective payment system for hospital outpatient department services under section 1833(t) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l(t)).

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 3003. [None Assigned]  WORK GEOGRAPHIC ADJUSTMENT.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(b)  Mandated Studies on Physician Payment Reform.—

(1)  Study by secretary on options for bundled or episode-based payment.—

(A)  In general.—The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall conduct a study that examines options for bundled or episode-based payments, to cover physicians’ services currently paid under the physician fee schedule under section 1848 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–4), for one or more prevalent chronic conditions (such as cancer, diabetes, and congestive heart failure) or episodes of care for one or more major procedures (such as medical device implantation). In conducting the study, the Secretary shall consult with medical professional societies and other relevant stakeholders. The study shall include an examination of related private payer payment initiatives.

(B)  Report.—Not later than January 1, 2013, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report on the study conducted under this paragraph. The Secretary shall include in the report recommendations on suitable alternative payment options for services paid under such fee schedule and on associated implementation requirements (such as timelines, operational issues, and interactions with other payment reform initiatives).

(2)  GAO study of private payer initiatives.—

(A)  The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study that examines initiatives of private entities offering or administering health insurance coverage, group health plans, or other private health benefit plans to base or adjust physician payment rates under such coverage or plans for performance on quality and efficiency, as well as demonstration of care delivery improvement activities (such as adherence to evidence- based guidelines and patient-shared decision making programs). In conducting such study, the Comptroller General shall consult, to the extent appropriate, with medical professional societies and other relevant stakeholders.

(B)  Report.— Not later than January 1, 2013, the Comptroller General shall submit to the Committees on Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report on the study conducted under this paragraph. Such report shall include an assessment of the applicability of the payer initiatives described in subparagraph (A) to the Medicare program and recommendations on modifications to existing Medicare performance-based initiatives.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 3005. [None Assigned]  WORK GEOGRAPHIC ADJUSTMENT.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(d) [42 U.S.C. 1395l note]  Implementation.—The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall implement such claims processing edits and issue such guidance as may be necessary to implement the amendments made by this section in a timely manner. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary may implement the amendments made by this section by program instruction. Of the amount of funds made available to the Secretary for fiscal year 2012 for program management for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, not to exceed $9,375,000 shall be available for such fiscal year and the first 3 months of fiscal year 2013 to carry out section 1833(g)(5)(C) of the Social Security Act (relating to manual medical review), as added by subsection (a).

(e) [None Assigned]  Effective Date.—The requirement of subparagraph (B) of section 1833(g)(5) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l(g)(5)), as added by subsection (a), shall apply to services furnished on or after March 1, 2012.

(f) [42 U.S.C. 1395l note]  MedPac Report on Improved Medicare Therapy Benefits.—Not later than June 15, 2013, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission shall submit to the Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and to the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report making recommendations on how to improve the outpatient therapy benefit under part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act. The report shall include recommendations on how to reform the payment system for such outpatient therapy services under such part so that the benefit is better designed to reflect individual acuity, condition, and therapy needs of the patient. Such report shall include an examination of private sector initiatives relating to outpatient therapy benefits.

(g) [42 U.S.C. 1395l note] Collection of Additional Data.—

(1)  Strategy.—The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall implement, beginning on January 1, 2013, a claimsbased data collection strategy that is designed to assist in reforming the Medicare payment system for outpatient therapy services subject to the limitations of section 1833(g) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l(g)). Such strategy shall be designed to provide for the collection of data on patient function during the course of therapy services in order to better understand patient condition and outcomes

(2)  Consultation.—In proposing and implementing such strategy, the Secretary shall consult with relevant stakeholders.

(h) [None Assigned]  GAO Report on Manual Medical Review Process Implementation.—Not later than May 1, 2013, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and to the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report on the implementation of the manual medical review process referred to in section 1833(g)(5)(C) of the Social Security Act, as added by subsection (a). Such report shall include aggregate data on the number of individuals and claims subject to such process, the number of reviews conducted under such process, and the outcome of such reviews.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 3007. [None Assigned]  AMBULANCE ADD-ON PAYMENTS.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(d)  GAO Report Update.—Not later than October 1, 2012, the Comptroller General of the United States shall update the GAO report GAO–07–383 (relating to Ambulance Providers: Costs and Expected Medicare Margins Vary Greatly) to reflect current costs for ambulance providers. (e) MEDPAC REPORT.—The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission shall conduct a study of— (1) the appropriateness of the add-on payments for ambulance providers under paragraphs (12)(A) and (13)(A) of section 1834(l) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m(l)) and the treatment of air ambulance providers under section 146(b)(1) of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–275); (2) the effect these add-on payments and such treatment have on the Medicare margins of ambulance providers; and (3) whether there is a need to reform the Medicare ambulance fee schedule under such section and, if so, what should such reforms be, including whether the add-on payments should be included in the base rate

(1)  Data exchange standards.—The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall issue a proposed rule under section 411(d)(1) of the Social Security Act within 12 months after the date of the enactment of this section, and shall issue a final rule under such section 411(d)(1), after public comment, within 24 months after such date of enactment.

(2)  Data reporting standards.—The reporting standards required under section 411(d)(2) of such Act shall become effective with respect to reports required in the first reporting period, after the effective date of the final rule referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection, for which the authority for data collection and reporting is established or renewed under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

(e)  MedPac Report.—The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission shall conduct a study of—

(1)  the appropriateness of the add-on payments for ambulance providers under paragraphs (12)(A) and (13)(A) of section 1834(l) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395m(l)) and the treatment of air ambulance providers under section 146(b)(1) of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–275);

(2)  the effect these add-on payments and such treatment have on the Medicare margins of ambulance providers; and (3) whether there is a need to reform the Medicare ambulance fee schedule under such section and, if so, what should such reforms be, including whether the add-on payments should be included in the base rate

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

SEC. 4002. [None Assigned]  AMBULANCE ADD-ON PAYMENTS.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(i)  Prevention of Duplicate Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2012.—Expenditures made pursuant to the Short-Term TANF Extension Act (Public Law 112–35) and the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 (Public Law 112–78) for fiscal year 2012 shall be charged to the applicable appropriation or authorization provided by the amendments made by this section for such fiscal year.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

[Internal References.—SSAct Titles IV and XVIII, Part B, §§411(d), 911, 1833(g) and (t)(7)(D), 1834(l), 1848 (heading) , 1848(e) 1886 (heading) and P.L 83–591, §3306(v) (this Volume) have footnotes referring to P.L. 112-96.]