MEDICARE: 21% Pay Cut Effective April 1

The United States Congress has begun its two-week spring recess after failing to avoid a 21% Medicare fee cut or address the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) which MSNJ, AMA and all of organized medicine agree must be repealed. The 21% fee cut went into effect on April 1, 2010, but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has instituted a ten-business-day hold on Medicare claims processing, giving Congress a chance to minimize the impact of the SGR triggered cuts on physicians. This cycle of Congressional inaction and CMS claims processing delays has become an all too familiar theme, although the reliance on shorter, one month freezes is a relatively new phenomenon associated with the “doc-fix” debate over the SGR.  MSNJ thanks our congressional delegation for its support of a long term solution and urges their continued advocacy.

We have been advised that the Senate plans to hold a cloture vote after the recess which, if supported by 60 Senators, will allow a vote to occur on the legislation.  That vote could occur as early as April 12, the day that Congress returns from the spring recess.

Congress’ failure to act in a timely and responsible manner is precisely why the Medicare payment formula must be fixed.  MSNJ will continue to work with the AMA and organized medicine for a repeal of the SGR. Our Senators and a majority of our House members already support this effort. We will continue to work with the delegation to ensure their continued commitment to repeal the SGR.

For details on the vote on H.R. 4851, that would have delayed the Medicare payment cut through April 1, and would have extended a number of programs including unemployment benefits and COBRA, visit AMA’s web site.

We will keep members apprised of developments on the legislation and any efforts required to repeal the SGR.

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About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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