Congress ex­pected to start over on fix­ing for­mula for SGR

Modern Healthcare - - Late News -

Congress this week is ex­pected to restart the ef­fort to pass a tem­po­rary mea­sure to negate a 21.2% cut to Medi­care physi­cian pay­ments that was sched­uled to take ef­fect on March 1. Leg­is­la­tion to stave off the cut to physi­cian pay­ments for 30 days passed in the House on Feb. 25, but was blocked re­peat­edly in the Se­nate by Sen. Jim Bun­ning (R-Ky.), who claims the fix to the sus­tain­able growth-rate for­mula, along with other Medi­care ex­ten­sions in the bill, would add to the na­tional debt. The leg­is­la­tion would also grant tem­po­rary ex­ten­sions to un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance and CO­BRA sub­si­dies. “Our mes­sage to the U.S. Se­nate is stop play­ing games with Medi­care pa­tients and the physi­cians who care for them,” said J. James Ro­hack, pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion. As­sum­ing a fix is com­ing, the CMS in­structed its con­trac­tors to hold claims on Medi­care physi­cian pay­ments beginning March 1 for the first 10 busi­ness days of March. The hold should have a min­i­mal im­pact on provider cash flow be­cause, un­der cur­rent law, clean elec­tronic claims are not paid any sooner than 14 cal­en­dar days, or 29 for pa­per claims, af­ter the date of re­ceipt, a CMS in­ter­nal memo stated. in­roads to­ward im­proved pa­tient safety by em­pow­er­ing groups such as the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health’s Ra­di­o­log­i­cal Physics Cen­ter and the Ad­vanced Tech­nol­ogy Con­sor­tium to ex­pand their work.

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