College of American Pathologists
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May 28, 2010
© 2010 College of American Pathologists
Special Report
Breaking News: House Passes 19-Month SGR Patch

CMS Announces 10-Day Claim Hold; Senate to Take Up Bill After Recess

House leaders secured enough support on Friday to pass a 19-month SGR formula patch before the weeklong Memorial Day holiday recess. However, the Senate still has to take up the legislation in order to avert a 21% Medicare physician pay cut slated to go into effect on Tuesday, June 1. CMS officials have indicated processing of claims for services after May 31 will be delayed for 10 days.

These SGR provisions were voted on separately from the rest of the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010” also called the tax extenders bill (H.R. 4213). This approved proposal calls for a 2.2 percent payment update for the remainder of 2010 and a 1 percent update for 2011. In 2012, Medicare reimbursement would be determined through the SGR formula under current law, which could mean a cut of 33% for Medicare physician payments.

The Senate had already recessed today, and the Majority Leader was reluctant to convene members over the holiday weekend, meaning they won’t take up the bill until they reconvene on June 7. Even with support from the House, the bill’s future in the Senate is far from certain. The cost of similar provisions has drawn fire from Senate Republicans and Democrats concerned about expanding the federal debt.

CAP will continue to work with Senate leaders when they reconvene on June 7 to resolve this urgent issue.

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