Physicians’ Medicare Pay Rates Cut 21 Percent

The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate were unable to resolve their differences in the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loop Holes Act of 2010 (tax extenders bill) in time to further delay a 21.3 percent negative update to Medicare reimbursement rates for physicians. The long anticipated pay cut went into effect June 1, but stalling tactics may result in physicians getting paid more, not less, this year.

The Continuing Extension Act of 2010 (HR 4851) extended a zero percent update to physicians paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) through May 31. As the expiration date of the temporary extension neared and it became more obvious that Congress would not pass legislation in time to prevent the impending pay cut, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) instructed contractors to put a 10-day hold (through June 14) on all claims paid under the MPFS received on or after June 1.

BREAKING NEWS: CMS is now directing its contractors to continue holding claims for services provided on or after June 1 through Thursday, June 17.

The House approved the tax extenders bill (HR 4213) May 28 and, after a week-long vacation followed by a week-long debate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a motion June 14 to invoke cloture on the revised bill, according to a realtime US BNA Daily Tax report.

According to AHA News, Senate Republicans June 10 introduced their own substitute amendment to the bill. “The Republican amendment, introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-SD), excludes the Democrats’ proposed extension of the temporary increase in Medicaid’s Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) through June 2011. It also drops changes to Medicare’s “72-Hour Rule” and extends some Medicare rural provisions set to expire by the end of the year,” AHA Now reports.

At the time of this writing, a conference committee of senators and representatives continues to work out differences in versions of the bill each chamber approved. Both versions of the bill would delay the 21.3 percent Medicare payment cut for physicians but, according to AHA News, Democrats would give physicians a 2.2 percent rate increase for the rest of this year and an additional 1 percent increase in 2011, whereas Republicans would provide a 2 percent increase through 2012.

Meanwhile, an American Medical Association (AMA) survey found that 31 percent of primary care physicians already are limiting the number of Medicare patients they see, according to a June 11 eVoice report; and according to CMS, about 10 percent of physicians have opted out of Medicare.


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8 Responses to “Physicians’ Medicare Pay Rates Cut 21 Percent”

  1. BF says:

    What a terrible way to treat our seniors. This is wrong and needs to be corrected.

  2. KQ says:

    Not only is it a terrible way to treat our seniors, it is a terrible way to treat our doctors. After years of schooling and the expenses associated with their educations, our doctors do not deserve to bear the burden of the new healthcare reform.

    The government is going to be successful in lowering healthcare costs (and also lifespans) because there will be no doctors available to the elderly. It looks like this is the first round of rationing, what else is in store?

  3. CS says:

    I never thought I would see the day when job security in the Healthcare Industry would be affected. We always say it’s the best field to work in for job security because people will always get sick. But not if all our doctors go out of business! Good night, I sure hope this doesn’t pass. I’ve never been afraid of finding a job in the healthcare industry till now.

  4. Mary Ann Budzon says:

    Medicare was initially intended to supplement retirees. However disability benefits, payments to children of deceased military personnel etc… are now paid from the same fund. Like a personal check account when more is spent then monies collected there will never be enough funds. It’s easy to single out physicians because supposedly they are wealthy–but I ask you if they are so wealthy why are they working?

  5. David Brown says:

    At this point, I am not sure any physicians in private practice will survive in the current healthcare environment. Our practice will start restricting access to Medicare patients for ‘non-urgent’ conditions effective July 1, 2010. Our restrictions will also include ‘no-access’ to all state and federal elected officials… this may seem drastic to some, but what else do we in healthcare have to bargain with?

  6. Katherine Savage says:

    I am very concerned about this. I work for a very small family practice and I worry how we will all survive, too. It seems like the deck is stacked against everyone as far as access to healthcare is concerned in the future. God help us.

  7. Tasha Ge says:

    As a coder for an health insurance company I am worried about this as well but just because I voted for President Obama I don’t agree with the funding of this healthcare bill. I have visited numerous doctors offices and I think the only way the private practices are going to survive is if they partner with a hospital district. I am 26 years old and I hope by the time my 2 year old son becomes a man that what is happening now will be much better.

  8. amin says:

    hello , i want abook of pharmacology

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