Obama Signs Bill to Extend 2009 Medicare Pay Rates

Congress has diverted the 21.3 percent Medicare pay cut to physicians once again. President Obama signed the Continuing Extension Act of 2010 (HR 4851) into law on April 15—just hours after the Senate voted 59-38 in favor of their amended version of the bill and the House subsequently passed the Senate’s amended version by a voice vote.

This latest bill extends the zero percent update to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) through May 31.

The negative update, originally scheduled to go into effect for services paid under the MPFS on or after Jan. 1, was postponed until March 1 by a provision in the Defense Appropriations Act of 2009, and again until April 1 in the Temporary Extension Act of 2010.

In lieu of Congressional action to prevent the pay cut from going into effect April 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ordered contractors to put a 10-day hold on claims. That hold expired April 14 but, according to an American Medical Association (AMA) eVoice report, the update “will be applied retroactively to all physician services provided to Medicare patients in April.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has since instructed Medicare contractors to begin processing claims under the new law for services provided by physicians, non-physician practitioners (NPPs) and others paid under the MPFS.


Latest posts by admin aapc (see all)

19 Responses to “Obama Signs Bill to Extend 2009 Medicare Pay Rates”

  1. Bev says:

    I wonder how the Senators and Congressmen would like it if their pay was cut by 21.3 percent?

  2. Lee says:

    Bev, I’m with you. Let Congress make some contributions to balance the budget!

  3. Wendy says:

    Yes, I agree also. They have a lifetime coverage of health benefits and haven’t had their pay cut EVER! As a matter of fact, wasn’t it just last year or the year before that they voted for themselves to get a raise!!!!!

  4. Lance says:

    What I am not liking about this is the fact that none of these politicians, the President included, have the gumption to take a stand one way or another. This issue HAS to be resolved one way or the other – either do away with the SAG and calculate payment another way or keep it this way. By doing this, they are trying to have it both ways – keep the doctors from screaming for the pay cut, but appearing to care about trying to keep the cost of health care down by not increasing reimbursement.

  5. Barbie says:

    Why can’t they have Medicare benefits if they are Medicare elig just like the rest of the population? Then maybe they would appreciate the situation. We pay them too much money anyway….Can I vote myself a raise? I don’t think my doc would appreciate it…..

  6. Betty says:

    Ever notice how they say they want to save money but they can’t seem to get over this hump of a rate reduction? Why is that? They say one thing but do another. It’s time to make a decision. Either do it or not. It is not right that they have practically the whole medical community in limbo just because they can’t make up their mind.

  7. Marlene says:

    So now we get to wait another 45 days to see what happens next. My docs cannot take much more of this back and forth. There is so much uncertainty with all this they wake up feeling like they had a brick thrown at them. Most of my docs have already posted signs alerting patients to the cut and that they will no longer accept new Medicare patients due to all this garbage. These poor people are going to be put out to pasture and die waiting to be seen at an ER if something is not done soon.

    Bottom line is the docs have to do just as much work or more and it takes just as much or more effort now to file claims. And they expect them and us to do it for 21.3 percent less. If you really think about it its alot more than that with the Consults being cut out. Its more like 30 percent and some specialties like Cardiology got hit even more. ITS NOT RIGHT BOTTOM LINE

  8. Zena McConnell, CPC says:

    The delays are so that no one has to take the blame come election time. Physicians have no more representation in the AMA anymore. More and more adminstrative burdens are being implemented and no increases are going to take place, so they pretend to be doing us (medical practices) a favor by delaying SGR cut. More attention is being spent on paperwork and fulfilling government requirements than on the patient. Soon practices will be resigned to exclude the very people needing care the most. And yet I get updates daily that our government votes on whether to congratulate the latest football game or commemorating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Don’t get me wrong I am all for green, but where are our priorities??? 45 days and we will right back where we were on 04/19/10!

  9. Vickie Cline, CCS says:

    Another concern becomes: if they do allow the cut, and it is retroactive to April 1, how are they going to administer the takebacks? It will be an expensive accounting nightmare from everyone’s standpoint – another costly burden for the Medical Community to bear.

  10. Kristi May CPC says:

    Marlene-I could not agree more! Not only do they expect us to take a decrease and continue to function with patient care as normal, the amount of increased paperwork is insane. Also, trying to work an a/r during all of this is almost impossible. I encourage all to sign up to receive an e-mail regarding the issues the house and senate are working on. It will enlighten you. I have to say the idea of these same people managing all of healthcare is quite scary.

  11. Denise English, CPC says:

    Here is my problem. Why is Medicare payment tied to a bill about unemployment benefits? They are two totally different issues and should be dealt with separately. Zena, you are right; we are told that the new healthcare bill will not hurt those on Medicare. However, with all the cuts to the program, when there are no doctors left willing to accept Medicare patients, how will this help them?

  12. sarah says:

    The patients are the ones that are suffering the most, my father n law has esophageal ca. and just discovered it in his lung . He only has Medicare to cover- his physician is now declining all Medicare pt.’s due to the fact that it only pays at 20% now. This will force pt.’s to stop taking tx’s due to high cost. His doctor, however, is having all Medicare patients sign a form and is mailing them to Congress to show how they,the doctors and patients, cannot survive with this new Healthcare plan.

    The only thing Obama, Reid and Palosi have done is cut all our throats, -Meciare is cut in half now, taxes will rise, jobs are being done away with. They have crushed the economy by signing one piece of paper.

  13. Susan says:

    Let’s add to the discussion that every time the government postpones action they increase cost. There is the cost of our representatives and the exec branch processing these interim bills, time and money that could be much better spent on actions and programs. Would anyone hazard a guess at the social cost of presenting a stop gap bill and the associated press coverage and industry cost to prepare for an indeterminate outcome? Support the MGMA which has taken the position that any legislation which does not untie the SGR permanently is unacceptable. AND put all these comments in an email to YOUR representatives. Silence hurts us all.

  14. Debby says:

    Get ready folks!! This is what the new healthcare plan will be like.

  15. Christin Nagle, CPC says:

    I agree with Krisi May’s Comment about signing up for the Senatoral Emails or even just checking their voting schedule. I was following their schedule and some of their topics that they vote upon is a tax payors waste. I can understand why they delay the harder topics because they would actually have to make some intellectual involvement . I agree with Senators & Congress persons taking a 21% pay cut.

  16. Tim Rossi, MHA, CPC says:

    “Ever notice how they say they want to save money but they can’t seem to get over this hump of a rate reduction? Why is that?”

    The answer: lobbyists. Our revered Senator’s Grassley (R-Iowa) and Baucus (D-Mont.), leaders of the Senate finance Commitee, are on the take from insurance lobbyists.

    Save all the anecdotal sap given above, despite the Grand Obstructionist Party efforts the legislation that recently passed was the best ideas of the Republican party and not unlike Nixon’s 1974 CHIP legislation and much like Massachusetts health care reform–which achieved the highest coverage of any state in the union–was endorsed and passed by Mitt Romney. Delving into the history of health care reform, Teddy Roosevelt and the “Bull Moose” party stirred the progressive pot long before Kennedy, Nixon, Clinton or Obama, only to meet the similar opposition and eventual demise.

  17. Kim CPC-A CPMA says:

    I totally agree with Susan’s post. Silence hurts us all. We need to email, call, fax, carrier pigeon, etc our ‘representatives’. Too many times we gripe amongst each other however when election time comes around, we do not vote because we are ‘too busy’. With the way government is going and growing, we may soon be unbusied by becoming unemployed due to providers not being able to afford some staff.

  18. Karla says:

    Recycle Congress and the Senate. Vote in November!!!! I know that will not help with right now but
    it’s time for the People to once again be “By the people and for the people” WE the People need to excercise our rights. This is not what/how our forefathers meant for this to be. WE put our ‘representatives’ in. Now it’s time to vote them out. The medicare patients that are suffering now are the same people who fought for the benefts they are being denied.

  19. solomon says:

    There seems to be shining light at the end of the tunnel for the doctors, as soon enough, they have to barter their services for chicken and veggies or yard work, so I caution patience and more votes for the politicians espousing this dictum, to turn back the hand of time and pass this into law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *