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Monday, July 7, 2008

WHAT DOES THE CUT MEAN?

Federal officials say Medicare will hold all physicians’ claims for the first 10 business days of July to give Congress time to reverse the 10.6-percent cut in payments. (For details, see the question-and-answer document from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS].) Because of the July 4 holiday, that hold will run through July 15. TMA calculates that for Texas physicians treating Medicare patients, the hold involves $20 million a day, or $5,000 per physician over the 10-day period. CMS tells us this will cover 125,000 to 150,000 claims. We have published the new Medicare payment schedules on the TMA Web site, and also have information on physicians’ Medicare participation options (PDF). If Congress doesn’t act to reverse this debacle, the American Medical Association says, it will cost Texas $860 million through the end of 2009, an average of $18,000 per physician. That will affect more than 3.5 million Texas Medicare patients and military dependants on TRICARE.

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