College of American Pathologists
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March 30, 2010
© 2010 College of American Pathologists
Special Report
Medicare Physician Pay Cut Goes Into Effect April 1
CMS Will Hold Claims for 10 Days

Congress adjourned for a two-week recess without taking action to extend a temporary freeze of Medicare physician payment rates. Consequently, a 21.3 percent payment cut is scheduled to take effect April 1.

The latest 30-day SGR fix was contained in H.R. 4851, The Continuing Extension Act of 2010. It passed in the House of Representatives March 17, but was held up in the Senate by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) who objected to the bill. Now that the Senate has adjourned until Monday, April 12, the physician pay cut is guaranteed to take effect on April 1.

Anticipating Congressional action to correct the problem, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has already instructed its contractors to hold Medicare physician claims for 10 business days, effective April 1 – 14. This will give Congress two days after it returns from recess to extend the freeze to Medicare physician payments or take other action.

Physicians who have not already done so are urged to contact their Senators to immediately repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula once and for all. Call now, using the AMA’s Grassroots Hotline: 1-800-833-6354, or visit the AMA website to send an email.

CAP will continue to advocate for a speedy solution to this impasse with no disruption of medical services to Medicare patients. We will continue to closely monitor this issue and keep members informed through Statline.

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