On June 24, by a vote of 417-1, the House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 3962) impelmenting a six-month deferral of the automatic 21% cuts in the Medicare physician fee schedule retroactive to June 1. This measure has already been approved by the Senate and is expected to be signed by the President. The bill also included clarifications of the 3-day payment window for hospital services, a CMS-RIS data match program to identify fraudulent providers, and certain pension funding relief provisions.
In a statement released yesterday, the AMA called the patch "a very temporary reprieve, … not a solution." AMA president Cecil Wilson, M.D. noted:
"In December, the Medicare physician payment cut will be a whopping 23 percent, increasing to nearly 30 percent in January. Congress is playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette with seniors’ health care. Sick patients can’t wait. Congress must replace the broken payment system before the damage is done and cannot be reversed."
It appears likely that claims for services rendered after June 1 that were processed by Medicare carriers at the lower rate will need to be resubmitted. Further clarification from CMS is anticipated.