Senate Votes to Further Delay Pay Cut

The Senate passed (62-36), on March 10, the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010 (HR 4213), which includes provisions to extend the zero percent Medicare payment update to physicians until Sept. 30 and the therapy cap exception process until Dec. 31.

The already-extended-once payment freeze expired Feb. 28, at which time physicians faced a 21.2 percent cut in Medicare payments. However, certain that Congress would step in with another extension, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) instructed its contractors to hold claims containing services paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) for the first 10 business days of March.

The next day, on March 2, the Senate passed the Temporary Extension Act of 2010 (HR 4691) and President Obama signed the bill into law just hours later, thus extending the payment freeze until April 1.

With this latest legislation, the 21.2 percent Medicare physician payment cut is now slated to go into effect Oct. 1, unless Congress further delays it or devises a permanent fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

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5 Responses to “Senate Votes to Further Delay Pay Cut”

  1. Melissa says:

    This article is confusing. HR 4213 as amended by the Senate has not yet passed the House. As things stand now (March 17th), the payment cut goes into effect April 1. With the House being very distracted by Healthcare reform, extension of the delay until October 1 is not a sure thing.

  2. Pat says:

    I agree with Melissa, that is my information also.

  3. Brad says:

    The delay was part of the jobs bill, which was signed by President Obama this last week.

  4. Marla says:

    The US Senate pssed H.R. 4213 on March 10th but it still has to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Obama before it becomes law.
    On March 17th the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4851 which would delay the 21.2% cut in the Medicare fee schedule and extend the therapy cap exeptions process through April 30, 2010. This bill has to pass the Senate and be signed by President Obama before it beomes law.
    So at this point the fee schedule stays at the 2009 rate until March 30, 2010 and the therapy cap exception policy is in effect until March 30, 2010.

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