HR 3962 Headed for President’s Signature; Will Update Medicare Physician Payments

Shortly after 7:00 Eastern time Thursday evening, the House passed H.R. 3962, which provides a 2.2 percent Medicare fee schedule update for physician services through November 2010.  The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 417 to 1.  Since the same legislation passed the Senate last week, the bill will be sent promptly to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

The 2.2 percent update provided by H.R. 3962 would replace the 21 percent Medicare cut currently in effect, and be applied retroactively to claims for services provided on or after June 1.   Click here to learn how CMS will handle Medicare claims under the new law.

During the past week, the NCMS kept members informed about the latest developments surrounding Medicare physician payments through updates on the Doctor to Doctor blog and in a Special Bulletin Alert that went out on Wednesday. As first reported last Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began paying June claims at the reduced rate (-21.2%), on a rolling first in/first out basis. That meant claims submitted earlier are being paid at the reduced rate, with newer claims to be held for a ten-day period until the President is able to sign legislation into law.

While H.R. 3962 provides relief from the reduced Medicare physician payment rate, it does not resolve the issue surrounding the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. The NCMS continues to seek a repeal of the SGR and asks that  members contact their Representatives and Senators and urge them to fix the broken SGR that led to the reduced physician payments.

Click here to let your Representatives and Senators know that they need to fix the SGR now!

More signatures were added to the Stop the Medicare Meltdown petition this week as physicians and patients were urged to let Congress know that the support a permanent repeal of the SGR. You can sign the petition and download a flyer for your patients explaining why their support is so important.


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