Pre-Bid now on over 2000 items...our LIVE Auction is happening November 2nd

Current Location:
> This Story

Log in or Register to rate this News Story
Forward Printable StoryPrint Send us your Comments

Never Miss a Story

Sign Up For Weekly Top Stories


More Industry Headlines

More children visiting ED for headaches — but fewer getting CT scans Medication is being prescribed more frequently

One third of breast cancer patients aren't receiving follow-up imaging exams Can more guidelines resolve the problem?

IBA showcases Cyclone KIUBE cyclotron at EANM Can generate up to 300 doses of FDG in 2 hours

The medical chiller owner’s survival guide ...Or, how not to lose your cool

WSU researchers develop way to detect cancer with an iPhone Eight-channel spectrometer shown to be 99 percent accurate

Researchers use MR to guide stem cell therapy for neurological disorders Provides the resolution that's needed

Alternative Mo-99 SPECT isotope in development Production on alternative metals could stabilize supply

Abbott in $1.2 billion deal to sell device businesses to Terumo Transaction depends on the completion of Abbott's St. Jude acquisition

With MR, researchers say they have found the root cause of depression Could lead to more effective treatments

Philips partners with FluoroPharma to enhance CardioPET tracer image quality: EANM Study data presented at EANM annual congress

The Senate can vote upon
return after the holiday recess

House passes 19-month Medicare cut freeze

by Brendon Nafziger , DOTmed News Associate Editor
Wrapping a up a week Democrats spent wrangling with the budgets hawks in their own party, the House of Representatives voted Friday to freeze looming Medicare physician payment cuts until 2011 as part of a two-piece benefits package.

The so-called "doc fix" section, separated from the rest of the bill amidst Democratic in-fighting, cleared by a 245-171 vote mostly split down party lines, with only a handful of Republicans supporting it.

Story Continues Below Advertisement

Experience the Future of 4K Operating Room Technology

Mult-Modality Readiness * 4K Surgical Display * Focal Point on a Single Monitor * Surgeon Control * Improved Workflow * Operational Reliability by Using Redundant Component * Architecture * Click to learn more

The bill staves off until December 2011 a nearly 21 percent Medicare cut to physicians that had been set to take effect Tuesday, while also boosting payment rates 2.2 percent starting next month and another 1 percent in January.

Passage of the bill, a separated segment of the revised H.R. 4213, technically comes too late to avert it from taking effect, as the Senate has already left for its traditional one-week vacation and won't be in session again until June 7, almost a week after the cuts are scheduled to start. But much as they did with earlier down-to-the-wire reversals, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid will hold claims for 10 days after June 1 to allow the Senate to pass the bill, according to a letter CMS sent to doctors groups.

CMS predicts the hold will have negligible financial impact on most physicians: under current laws, electronic claims aren't paid sooner than 14 days anyway.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the fix will add around $22 billion to the federal deficit over the next two years. Still, what passed is well short of the original outcome desired by doctors groups who pressed for a long-term solution.

"I myself wish it were permanent," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a speech to the House on Friday. "It's 19 months. We have to move to give more certainty to our physicians and our seniors."

The scheduled cuts are required by the sustainable growth rate, a program set up by Congress in the '90s tying reimbursements to the GDP. Since the first cuts were due at the turn of the millennium, they've been blocked by numerous, temporary, quick fixes: the axe was last poised to fall on doctors' payments at the beginning of April, but was stayed just after Easter when Congress passed a last-minute, two-month delay.

The American Medical Association, which waged an aggressive media campaign in its efforts to compel Congress to adopt a permanent SGR fix, slammed the Senate for taking its traditional Memorial Day recess before the bill got through.

"Senators are more interested in heading home for the holiday than in preventing a Medicare meltdown for seniors," Dr. J. James Rohack, AMA's president, said in a pre-Memorial Day statement. "The 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut has been looming all year, and yet all Congress has managed to do is repeated short-term delays."

If a longer-term solution isn't found in the next few years, once the quick fix expires at the end of 2011, SGR cuts of around 33 percent will take effect, bringing the pay rates back in line with what they were before passage of the freeze, the CBO said.

The "doc fix" is the second part of a wider jobless package expected to cost nearly $116 billion. It extends unemployment payouts, set to expire next month, until November, and includes summer jobs programs, a settlement with black farmers and tax extensions. An earlier bill extending jobless checks till past December got squashed by fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats who threatened to turn on it unless drastic cuts were made.


Interested in Medical Industry News? Subscribe to DOTmed's weekly news email and always be informed. Click here, it takes just 30 seconds.
Increase Your
Brand Awareness
Auctions + Private Sales
Get The
Best Price
Buy Equipment/Parts
Find The
Lowest Price
Daily News
Read The
Latest News
Browse All
DOTmed Users
Ethics on DOTmed
View Our
Ethics Program
Gold Parts Vendor Program
Receive PH
Gold Service Dealer Program
Receive RFP/PS
Healthcare Providers
See all
HCP Tools
A Job
Parts Hunter +EasyPay
Get Parts
Recently Certified
View Recently
Certified Users
Recently Rated
View Recently
Certified Users
Rental Central
Rent Equipment
For Less
Sell Equipment/Parts
Get The
Most Money
Service Technicians Forum
Find Help
And Advice
Simple RFP
Get Equipment
Virtual Trade Show
Find Service
For Equipment
Access and use of this site is subject to the terms and conditions of our LEGAL NOTICE & PRIVACY NOTICE
Property of and Proprietary to DOTmed.com, Inc. Copyright ©2001-2016 DOTmed.com, Inc.