Medicare physicians receive temporary reprieve from pending pay cut

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Medicare physicians are once again facing a 21.2% pay cut when a provision to delay the reduction expires at midnight Thursday. But the government has ordered that claims submitted on or after April 1 be held for an additional 10 days until Congress can return from recess, according to a news outlet.

Legislation under debate in Congress would have further delayed the pay cut until Oct. 1, but lawmakers adjourned for their April recess before the provision could be passed. The physician pay cut is one provision not covered in the recently passed healthcare reform law. An extension of the Medicare therapy caps exceptions process, which had been subject to a number of stopgap fixes over the last few months, was part of the reform legislation. The process will be in effect until the end of the year.

It is the second time this year that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has delayed the physician payment cut in this way.

In related news, President Obama signed the reconciliation healthcare bill (H.R. 4872) into law Tuesday. The legislation makes changes to the Senate bill (H.R. 3590) that the president signed into law last week. These two comprise the sweeping healthcare reform law.

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