After a week of intense debate, both the House and Senate passed an amended version of H.R. 4851, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, thereby avoiding the 21.3% reduction on Medicare Part B payments by extending the 2009 rates through May 31, 2010. President Obama signed the legislation into law.
Although the 21.3% payment cut has been in place since April 1, 2010; CMS placed a 10-day hold on claims pending congressional action. The new law is retroactive, with an effective date of April 1. The hold on claims ended on Thursday, April 15, 2010. It has been reported by the American Medical Association that some Medicare contractors might have begun processing claims to reflect the 21.3% reduction. The contractors that processed claims at the reduced rate will now be required to reprocess those claims to reflect current rates. Speech-language pathologists and audiologists should review claims to ensure they are being appropriately reimbursed at the 2009 levels.
It is anticipated that Congress will consider a more long-term solution to Medicare Part B reimbursement in June. For additional information, please contact Ingrida Lusis, ASHA's Director of Federal and Political Advocacy, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.