Congress approves Medicare payment patch through May 31
Congress has passed and President Barack Obama has signed a Medicare physician payment bill that extends the 2009 payment rate through May 31, thus reinstating the payment rate that was in place on March 31. This allows the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to rescind the 21.2 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians that went into effect on April 1.
The U.S. Senate failed to avert the negative update caused by the sustainable growth rate formula, or SGR, before the Easter recess and the 21.2 percent cut went into effect. CMS responded by holding payment of claims from April 1-15 awaiting Congressional action when lawmakers returned.
Congress will soon take up legislation to extend the current payment rate until Oct. 1. Stay tuned.