Friday, February 03, 2006

Medicare Payments Frozen at 2005 Levels

From an ACEP press release.

The House of Representatives reversed a month-long reduction in Medicare physician payments Wednesday night when it passed a budget reconciliation bill that will freeze payments at the 2005 levels. The bill, which is now awaiting the President's signature, narrowly passed by a 216-214 vote and overturns the 4.4 percent reduction in payments that was dictated by the flawed sustainable growth rate formula.

“Thank you to those emergency physicians who called, e-mailed or wrote their representatives and senators to urge them to take action to prevent the Medicare cuts,” said Frederick C. Blum, MD, ACEP President.

“Our voice was heard on this issue in the midst of many groups who opposed passage of this legislation. When we work together, ACEP can accomplish big things,” he said.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has advised that the claims adjustment process will take several weeks but physicians will not have to resubmit claims.

In addition, CMS will reopen the 45-day period in which physicians may change their 2006 Medicare participation status. Changes will be retroactive to January 1, and claims will be adjusted to reflect the change in status.

Emergency physicians will continue to press Congress for changes to the underlying problem in the flawed sustainable growth rate formula. Look for more opportunities to take action soon.


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