Senate Passes Bill Too Late to Stop Dr. Pay Cut

The Senate approved by voice vote June 18 a bill that would further delay Medicare physician reimbursement cuts, but moments later, according the Associated Press, Medicare announced it would begin processing claims it has received from June 1 through June 18 at the 21 percent lower rate.

Senate leaders agreed June 18 to remove the “doc fix” from the tax extenders bill (H.R. 4213) and pass it separately by unanimous consent, according to BNA, Inc. Daily Tax Report.

The ‘‘Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010’’ (HR 3962) is a supplemental bill that would provide a 2.2 percent increase in reimbursement rates to physicians for services rendered to Medicare patients between June 1 and Nov. 30, 2010.

It would also prohibit Medicare from reopening or adjusting claims made by hospitals during the three days preceding a patient’s inpatient admission.

The U.S. House of Representatives, however, is not scheduled to hold any floor votes until the evening of June 22, according to a June 19 AMA eVoice report.

If the House passes HR 3962 and President Obama signs the bill, the new rate would be retroactive to June 1, and any claims that already had been processed at the lower rate would be reprocessed automatically, according to amednews.com.

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