April 16, 2010--Last evening, President Obama signed into law the Continuing Extension Act of 2010.  This legislation extends through May 31, 2010, the zero percent update to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) which was in effect for claims with dates of service from Jan. 1, 2010, through March 31, 2010.  The law is retroactive to April 1, 2010. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has instructed Medicare contractors to begin processing claims under the new law for services provided by physicians, non-physician practitioners (NPPs) and others paid under the MPFS.   Most claims with dates of service April 1 and later were held by Medicare in anticipation of congressional action.  If Congress had not acted, payment rates for these services by physicians, NPPs and others who are paid under the MPFS would have been reduced, as required by a formula specified in the Medicare law.  

The negative update, originally scheduled to go into effect for services paid under the MPFS on or after Jan. 1, 2010, was postponed until March 1 by a provision in the Defense Appropriations Act of 2009, and again until April 1, in the Temporary Extenders Act of 2010. 

"The Administration has repeatedly stated that the formula that determines what physicians and others are paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is broken and needs to be fixed.  We will continue to work with Congress to find a long-term solution," said Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator and director for the Center for Medicare. 

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