That leaves the fate of the legislation uncertain as the March 31 deadline approaches for a 21 percent physician pay cut to go into effect. The Associated Press reported that Senate leaders decided to wait until after Congress’s two-week recess to take up the legislation.
The AMA reported today that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is instructing its carriers to “hold” for 10 business days any claims for services provided on April 1 and beyond. The hold means that April claims will be held through Tuesday, April 14. Since the law requires that claims cannot be paid sooner than 14 calendar days from their receipt, this hold should have little short-term impact on Medicare payments to physicians.
The Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (HR 2, with a companion bill in the Senate, S 810) would permanently repeal the complex formula, along with the scheduled 21 percent physician pay cut.
“We support this long-overdue reform of the Medicare payment formula and elimination of the SGR,” said APA President Paul Summergrad, M.D. “The physician payment system needs to be stabilized for the sake of our patients and for our physicians who care for them.”
APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., noted that APA’s Division of Government Relations has worked diligently over the years with the AMA and other physician organizations for payment reform. “APA strongly supports the bipartisan House passed legislation and will continue to partner with the AMA and other medical societies to urge all Senators to vote yes to send the bill to President Obama, who has already said he would sign it.”
For the latest information on the legislation, see the Psychiatric News article "House Passes Bill to Repeal Medicare Payment Formula but Senate Fails to Act."
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