June 25, 2010
House applies latest SGR Band-Aid: The House of Representatives last night passed legislation (H.R. 3962) that would provide a 2.2 percent Medicare fee schedule update for physician services through November. This update would replace the 21 percent cut currently in effect, and be applied retroactively to claims for services provided on or after June 1. The Senate approved this bill last Friday.
This just in from CMS ... The agency has directed Medicare claims administration contractors to discontinue processing claims at the negative update rates and to temporarily hold all claims for services rendered June 1, and later, until the new 2.2 percent update rates are tested and loaded into the Medicare contractors' claims processing systems. CMS expects to begin processing claims at the new rates no later than July 1. Claims for services rendered prior to June 1, will continue to be processed and paid as usual. Claims containing June 2010 dates of service which have been paid at the negative update rates will be reprocessed as soon as possible. Claims containing June dates of service that were submitted with charges greater than or equal to the new 2.2 percent update rates will be automatically reprocessed. If you submitted claims containing June dates of service with charges less than the 2.2 percent update amount you will need to contact your local Medicare contractor to request an adjustment.
Enough is enough! The entire House of Medicine is fed up with these continued temporary patches. Ultimately patients are the ones that suffer, whether it's through higher co-pays, longer wait times or the reduced access to services. Your ACC continues to urge Congressional leaders to find a permanent solution to the current SGR formula before it's too late. Educating Congress about the real-life impacts of these cuts is one such way. Your ACC provides several ways to facilitate interaction with members of Congress, including through the ACC Political Action Committee (ACCPAC), local Chapters and/or through the annual Legislative Conference.
Speaking of Legislative Conference ... Registration is now open for the 2010 Legislative Conference to be held at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 12-14. This is a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with members of Congress. A limited number of scholarships are available for FITs, CCAs and Practice Administrators. In addition, the ACCPAC has a number of events planned including its annual Texas Hold Em Tournament, a special luncheon featuring political strategist Karl Rove, and a happy hour for FITs, CCAs, and Practice Admins. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Are you enrolled? Beginning July 6, physicians furnishing services to Medicare patients that require a written order or referral from non-Medicare enrolled physicians will not be paid for those services. Your ACC is awaiting additional guidance on the particular types of services affected by this new rule and will let you know as soon as it's available. In the meantime, cardiovascular practices are advised to closely examine Medicare remittances for informational messages that may indicate a problem with payment on or after July 6. If you see these messages on your claims forms, contact your Medicare contractor for additional guidance. For more on Medicare enrollment policies, click here.