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Important Update: 30-day “patch” possible to prevent March 1st 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

As of publication time, Congressional leaders have been unable to reach agreement on a proposal to address the pending 21 percent payment cut and the underlying flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Medicare payment update formula.

Information obtained by ASA lobbyists indicates that a 30-day “patch” is currently under consideration.  The “patch” could be passed as part of H.R. 1586, a tax-related piece of legislation.  The “patch” reportedly would allow lawmakers additional time to negotiate a resolution to the pending cut and the flaws in the underlying formula.

As ASA members will recall, prior to the December 2009 Congressional recess, Congress passed and the President signed into law legislation temporarily halting the 21 percent Medicare payment cut.  The legislation will expire February 28 triggering the implementation of the 21 percent payment cut for services provided on March 1 and beyond.

ASA continues to push for a repeal of the current SGR formula and the implementation of a new Medicare physician payment update mechanism that accurately reflects the increasing annual costs of providing services to Medicare beneficiaries.

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