Fee Cut Goes Into Effect, but CMS Holding Off Claims Processing

Leigh Page -  
The 21.3 percent Medicare physician fee cut automatically went into effect today, but CMS is instructing Medicare contractors to hold physicians' Medicare claims for the first 10 business days in June to give Congress a chance to avert the cut.

Late last week, the House passed legislation that would have postponed the fee cut until Jan. 1, 2012 and increased Medicare rates 2.2 percent for the rest of 2010 and 1 percent in 2011.

However, Senate Democratic leaders, concerned about the $23 billion cost of the temporary fix, did not bring the measure up for a vote before recessing for a week. Congress reconvenes on June 7.

In a release, the American College of Physicians noted this was one more example of this year's succession of Congressional short-term patches and missed deadlines on the fee cuts. The ACP stated: "Medicare increasingly is viewed as an unstable and unreliable payor of services, with the result that more and more physicians will likely have no choice but to limit how many Medicare and TRICARE patients they can afford to accept into their practices."

Read the American College of Physicians' release on the physician fee cut.

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