On February 22, The Health Law Partners, P.C. (“The HLP”) posted a blog urging our clients and friends to help prevent a proposed 21% reduction in Medicare reimbursement. On February 28, the short-term Medicare physician payment freeze expired, triggering the 21% reduction in Medicare reimbursement. Congress is expected to vote within the next several days to extend the payment freeze and stave off the reduction in reimbursement for an additional 30 days – to March 28, 2010.
However, because a vote did not occur prior to the expiration of the physician payment freeze existing in February, triggering the 21% reduction in Medicare reimbursement beginning March 1, if payments were to be made under the cuts, and if the cuts are subsequently repealed, physicians would have to file new claims to recoup lost amounts, creating an administrative burden to both the provider community and Medicare claims processors. According to a recent AP report (3/2, Alonso-Zalvidar), the Obama Administration expects “the Senate will act soon to stave off the cuts,” and has “directed Medicare billing contractors to hold off processing claims for 10 business days.” Jonathan Blum, director of CMS’ Center for Medicare Management, has stated that, CMS’ “No. 1 goal is to avoid disrupting payments to physicians during this time.”