Committee passes bills to protect Medicare

The House Committee on Ways and Means passed several bills last week to protect Medicare, including the Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act (PIMA) of 2015.

PIMA was introduced by Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and ranking member Jim McDermott (D-WA).

“Too many seniors are either personally harmed by identity theft or negatively affected by rising healthcare costs due to correctable issues,” Brady said. “That’s why we brought together in one bill a number of good ideas previously introduced by members of our committee – such as removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards as fellow Texan, Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson, has championed.”

In addition to removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards, the bill would decrease Medicare fraud, waste and abuse by educating Medicare contractors and providers and by removing avoidable paperwork for employers.

PIMA would also expand medical documentation responsibilities to nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants, increase outreach and education for Medicare providers, and provide an option for electronic Medicare bill summaries.

The committee also passed the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2014 and bills that require Medicare to use binding and licensure in purchases of durable medical equipment and require hospitals to inform patients of their observation or inpatient status.