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.

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6 Responses to “SGR Postponement Efforts Continue”

  1. Michelle says:

    OMG!! Anyone else having a problem with the secondary insurance not being electronically sent? I now have beaucoup paperwork and staff time researching all the Medicare patients to make sure their seconary has been billed. When payment was held up, there went the automatic transfer to the secondary!!!

  2. Lisa says:

    I held my Medicare claims internally and sent them out after the requested hold date. I have had no problems with secondary.

  3. Diane Amos says:

    The physicians will have to deal with increasing numbers of patients with the new health care coverages afforded to them from the reform act. These will be paid at Medicare rates. Now to even make this more attractive, let’s reduce this already insufficient compensation by 21%. The overhead to run a practice has not decreased by 21%. The cost to expand office hours and staff is not 21% less. This will only increase the burden of health care shortages as doctor’s retire in number or go out of business. Many doctors will give up independent practices and join physician management groups to survive; a trend already in process by more than 50% of physicians. The doctors have only been receiving a temporary reprieve to this impending doom because the actual funding for this Health Care Coverage ideally will be found with bait and switch tactics as it is operated as socialized medicine. No voting representative wants to tell the physicians that their profession will soon be equalized and phased into government chaos, hence; no permanent pay fix.

  4. Shanon says:

    Michelle, I am in the same boat. I did not hold claims so I had to go through each one with a secondary policy. We can’t afford to hold our Medicare claims back.

  5. Dee Fulenwider says:

    I believe that every physician write their representatives (Congress & Senate) and tell them when they quit voting their raises in during the night time hours that physicians may be more apt to take a cut of some kind. Just like the attorneys always want a physician to take a cut to settle a claim, but when the attorney is asked if his fees are reduced of course they are not. November should be an interesting election…..

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