Cardiology group loses suit against HHS over Medicare cuts

Late last year, the American College of Cardiology filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services in an attempt to stop the agency from cutting Medicare reimbursements for cardiology services. Well, that didn't last long. Only a few weeks later, the suit has been dismissed by the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida.

Under the 2010 CMS physician fee schedule, doctors of all specialties should get a 21.2 percent pay cut as of March 1. Cardiologists, for their part, would see reductions of up to 40 percent for procedures. This cut assumes that the cost of providing cardiology care has fallen 40 percent over five years.

The ACC had asked the court to block HHS from making the cuts, which it said were based on flawed data. The ACC, and other specialty groups, have argued that the Physician Practice Information Survey CMS uses doesn't fairly represent their costs. ACC members say that most of its members saw a 2 percent increase in overhead during 2009 alone.

Ultimately, however, the court ruled that it didn't have the authority to review Medicare payments.

To learn more about the dispute:
- read this American Medical News report
- read the ACC's statement

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