SGR Postponement Efforts Continue
No further Congressional action was taken to spare physicians a 21 percent Medicare payment cut, which technically went into effect March 31. For the second time this year, however, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) instructed contractors to hold all claims paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) received on or after April 1 for 10 business days — theoretically extending the zero percent (0%) payment update until April 14.
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.
Nearly lost in the excitement of the health care reform bill signing on March 23 was the U.S. House of Representatives passing, March 22, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010 (HR 4851). This bill would extend physicians’ current Medicare payment rates through April 30. The Senate, however, has yet to vote on this bill.
As reported in EdgeBlast No. 145, the Senate approved the American Workers, State and Business Relief Act (HR 4213) of 2010 on March 10, which would extend current Medicare physician payment rates through the end of September 2010. The House, however, has yet to vote on this bill.
No action is expected in either the House or Senate until April 12, when Congress is back in session after a two-week vacation.
AAPC will keep you apprised of the situation.