Senate passes 1-month SGR extension

By staff writers

November 19, 2010 -- On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that yet again would stave off cuts to physician payments under the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, according to a statement from the Senate Finance Committee.

The bill, called the Physician Payment and Therapy Relief Act of 2010, will extend the existing 2.2% update to physician payments and delay a 21% cut from the original deadline of November 30 until December 31. This extension would be paid for using savings from a new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) policy that reduces payments for multiple therapy services provided to patients in one day.

If passed by the House, the bill will provide a path to both a short- and longer-term solution to the broken Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS); Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) plan to pursue a yearlong solution to the formula that could be put into place before the month-long patch expires.

Of course, the U.S. House of Representatives must also pass the bill. The Senate hopes that the House will address the legislation after the Thanksgiving recess, on November 29; if the House does not pass the bill, the mandated cut to Medicare payments under the SGR formula will go into effect December 1.

Congress tries to wrangle another SGR fix, November 18, 2010

Obama signs SGR fix after House passes 6-month delay, June 25, 2010

House holds SGR fix hostage to jobs bill, June 22, 2010

CMS begins paying claims at lower SGR rate, June 21, 2010

Senate delays Medicare cuts until December, June 18, 2010

Copyright © 2010


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