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Update: Congress Fails to Act - CMS to Begin to Process Claims with 21-percent Cut

Friday, June 11, 2010

Presently, Congress has failed to pass legislation to avert the implementation of the current 21 percent cut to Medicare physician payments. As a result, payment cuts will occur.

The scheduled 21 percent Medicare payment cut took effect June 1; however, CMS was directed to hold the processing of claims through Monday, June 14. The "hold" directive is expected to expire on Tuesday, June 15. Accordingly, the processing of claims with the cut will commence.

Members of the House and Senate are continuing to debate possible options for addressing the SGR. Many issues remain unresolved, including the length of the next “patch,” whether the change will be "offset" by spending reductions or tax increases, and the impact of the "patch" on future updates. Alarmingly, some proposals could result in a cut of 35 percent in future years.

ASA has consistently lobbied for a full repeal of the SGR. At this point, however, that option appears to be off the table. Instead, Congress is more likely to consider another short term fix, although even a temporary reprieve is uncertain at this point.

ASA members are urged to check www.ASAhq.org often for updates. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

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