Last night, the House passed the “Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010,” which will increase Medicare reimbursement to physicians by 2.2 percent through November 30, 2010. President Obama signed the legislation into law on June 25.
Amy Hall, Director of the Office of Legislation at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a notice to Hill staff explaining that Medicare physician “claims containing June 2010 dates of services which have been paid at the negative update rates will be reprocessed as soon as possible.” The notification indicated that contractors have been instructed to stop processing claims with the 21 percent cut and to hold claims for services provided in June until the 2.2 percent update is loaded into the claims processing systems.
Congress is likely to reconvene after the November elections for a lame duck session. The short-term SGR fix along with a number of Medicare extenders that were included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will expire before the end of the year. In addition to addressing the Medicare physician reimbursement rate, Congress will likely extend:
- the floor on geographic adjustments to the work portion of the Medicare physician fee schedule;
- the process of allowing exceptions to limitations on medically necessary therapy;
- the policy that directly reimburses qualified rural hospitals for specified laboratory services;
- bonus Medicare payments to ambulance services provided in rural and other areas; and
- the physician fee schedule mental health add-on to increase the payment for psychiatric services.