Medicare payments will be reduced by more than 21%, effective Thursday, April 1, 2010, because Congress failed to pass legislation averting these cuts before leaving on recess. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has asked its Medicare contractors to hold Part B claims for the first 10 business days of April to allow Congress time to retroactively address the cuts when they return from recess on April 12. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists billing Medicare should still submit claims to their contractors.
Earlier in March, the House passed H.R. 4851, which would have extended the current fee schedule rates through the end of April. However, due to a disagreement on how to pay for the bill, the Senate failed to pass H.R. 4851 before recess. It is expected that they will consider the bill as soon as they return on April 12. Both the House and Senate are working to pass a more comprehensive legislation that would produce a long-term solution to the problem.
The Medicare therapy caps exceptions process was extended through December 31, 2010 as part of the recently passed health care reform legislation.
For more information, please contact Ingrida Lusis, ASHA's Director of Federal and Political Advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.