Government News
Medicare Physician Fees in Flux
Psychiatric News
Volume 45 Number 7 page 4-4

A 21 percent across-the-board cut in Medicare physician fees was due to go into effect on April 1, as Psychiatric News was going to press.

However, Congress's maneuvering on the issue of Medicare payment has been an extraordinarily fast-moving target—on March 10, the Senate passed a bill that, if approved by the House, would delay the cuts until October 1. And at press time, the House passed another postponement to May 1 that requires a Senate vote.

The AMA released a statement expressing exasperation with the maneuvering and with Congress's failure to provide a permanent fix to the payment formula.

"Physicians cannot keep their practice doors open to all Medicare patients without clear direction from Congress on Medicare payment rates," said AMA President J. James Rohack, M.D., in a statement after the Senate action. "Already, Medicare payment rates are far below the costs of providing patient care. . . . It's time to fix the formula and ensure that seniors can count on Medicare now and for years to come."

However, there is some good news for APA members related to reimbursement that APA lobbyists worked hard to secure: a one-year extension of the 5 percent bump in payment for psychotherapy services that expired in January. The increase applies to calendar year 2010 and is retroactive to January 1. This provision is contained in the health care reform law signed by President Obama on March 23 (see House Passes Landmark Health Reform Legislation). APA will continue to press hard for a permanent fix to the formula used to set Medicare physician fees each year. blacksquare

Interactive Graphics


Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Related Articles