President signs H.R. 4851, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010
Last night, the President signed H.R. 4851, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, into law, reinstating Medicare physician payments to where they were on March 31 and again postponing the 21.3 percent cut that was supposed to take effect in 2010. This most recent extension of 2009 payment rates will continue through the end of May, and will be applied retroactively to all physician services provided to Medicare patients in April. The legislation passed the Senate at about 5:45 last night by a bipartisan vote of 59-38, and subsequently passed the House shortly after 8:00 pm by a bipartisan vote of 289-112.
Yesterday, the hold on processing April claims that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had placed to avoid implementing the payment cut technically expired. However, with Congressional action so imminent, we do not believe many claims were actually processed at the lower payment rates. However, we have been informed by CMS that any claims paid that reflected the 21.3 percent cut will be reprocessed automatically without any action required from physicians.
The AMA is continuing to work closely with House and Senate leadership offices and with White House officials on a long-term solution to the sustainable growth rate formula, and we expect to have more to report on these efforts very soon.