Medicare physician pay cut put into effect

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Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)
A 21.2% pay cut for Medicare physicians takes effect today after a Senate bill that would have prevented it failed to gain enough bipartisan support. The House had passed the bill the day before.

The bill contains a 30-day delay of the Medicare physician pay cut, as well as a number of provisions extending unemployment benefits that also expired over the weekend. During negotiations, retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) repeatedly blocked the bill, arguing that its $10 billion price tag was too much of a burden on the already massive federal budget deficit, according to the Associated Press. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could choose to withhold payments to Medicare physician until a solution can be found. It would be a remedy that physician groups favor because they then would avert having to later refile claims that were paid at a lower rate if a fix to the payment formula is decided upon soon, which many observers expect.

Nursing homes are facing major payment system changes as well with the upcoming implementation of the MDS 3.0. On March 25, as part of our Fourth Annual Online Expo, McKnight's will host a free online webcast that will delve into MDS 3.0 and new resource utilization groups for long-term care operators. For more information, or to register for free, visit www.mcknights.com/marchexpo.


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