Two-month freeze for Medicare physician pay included in new spending bill

A bill that would delay a 21.2% cut in physician pay under Medicare is holding up the calculation of Medicare Part B therapy rates for skilled nursing facilities. The bill is awaiting action from the Senate, which returns from Easter recess on Monday.

Part B therapy rates for skilled nursing facilities are closely linked to the physician fee schedule, according to the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. The physician fee schedule was subject to a 21.2% cut on Jan. 1. A litany of legislative stopgap measures and payment holds implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have held off the cut.

Most recently, the House of Representatives passed a stopgap measure that would delay cuts until April 30. The Senate failed to act on the bill before the spring congressional recess. CMS had ordered a 10-day hold on reimbursement claims filed on or after April 1.