College of American Pathologists
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February 11, 2011
© 2011 College of American Pathologists
Special Report
CMS to Rescind Physician Signature Requirement

Feb. 21—CMS officials are planning to withdraw the provision of the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Final rule requiring a physician’s or qualified non-physician practitioner’s (NPP) signature on all requisitions for tests paid on the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS). Originally slated to take effect on Jan. 1, the requirement had already been delayed through the first quarter of 2011.

CMS’s decision to rescind the requirement comes days after the agency’s Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum acknowledged concerns expressed by physician and laboratory stakeholders about the potential negative impact of this new requirement. At an AMA-convened meeting on Feb. 9, which was attended by the CAP, he also acknowledged that agency officials were taking a “fresh look” at the requirement, which was intended to streamline the auditing process.

The CAP, along with the AMA and other members of the Clinical Laboratory Coalition (CLC), has led steady efforts to raise concern about the potential negative impact that this new requirement could have on health care providers, including pathologists. Most recently, this included engaging members of Congress. As a result, Reps. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), along with Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) wrote to CMS on Feb. 10, asking the agency to further delay implementing the rule. A total of 89 members of the House and at least 26 members of the Senate co-signed these letters urging CMS to reconsider the regulation. The College and CLC members also met with CMS’s Blum in mid-January to emphasize concerns with the regulation and educate the agency about the problems it would present.

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