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.