Obama signs doc pay 'fix,' but bigger cuts could face physicians next year

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Doctors wait patiently for Congress to act on 'doc fix'
Doctors wait patiently for Congress to act on 'doc fix'

President Obama on Friday signed a law canceling a 21.3% pay cut for Medicare physicians and replacing it with a 2.2% pay increase. The Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act is retroactive to June 1.

Following the signing of the bill, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services directed its contractors to begin re-processing physician and provider claims at the new rate. The 21.3% cut had taken effect June 1, but claims were held until June 18. After June 18, claims were processed at the reduced rate. CMS expects to begin processing claims at the new rate no later than July 1, according to a letter released by the agency Friday morning.

The new calculation of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is valid through Nov 30. A recent report from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission calculates that Medicare physicians will face a 26.2% reimbursement cut in 2011. (McKnight's, 6/17/10)