As a result of Congress’ failure to act, a 21 percent Medicare payment cut is in effect for services provided on or after June 1. CMS is instructing its contractors to hold claims containing services paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for the first 10 business days of June as a means of temporarily protecting physicians from the payment cuts. Following the Memorial Day Congressional recess May 31-June 8, U.S. House and Senate negotiators are expected to revisit legislative options to avert the implementation of the payment cuts.
Prior to the Memorial Day recess, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would provide a 2.2 percent increase in Medicare payments through 2010, and a 1 percent increase in 2011. The U.S. Senate did not act on the House legislation. It is unclear whether the Senate will consider this or another SGR “fix” following the recess.
ASA supports Congressional action to fully repeal the current SGR formula and implement a new Medicare physician payment update mechanism that accurately reflects the increasing annual costs of providing services to Medicare beneficiaries.