House & Senate Pass Six Month Medicare Fix for 2008

From the EDPMA

Late on Tuesday, December 18, the United States Senate passed by voice vote (unanimous consent) the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (S. 2499).  The House took up the bill today, Wednesday, December 19, and late in the day passed the measure by a vote of 411-3.  The legislation now moves to the President’s desk for signature, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt is reported to have indicated that the President will sign the bill into law. 

The legislation provides a 0.5 percent positive update for the 2008 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for six months – from January 1 through June 30, 2008.  The fee schedule for July 1 through December 31, 2008 would be calculated as if the six month patch had not been enacted unless further congressional action occurred to stave off future cuts.   

Emergency Medicine Medicare Reimbursement for 2008

As noted above, the entire house of medicine was slated for a 10.1 percent across the board cut to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule in 2008.  However, due to regulatory changes, emergency medicine is scheduled to take an additional reduction of approximately 2 percent in 2008.  The legislation passed this week in Congress averts the 10.1 percent cut to all Medicare physician payments, but does not directly avert the additional 2 percent reduction anticipated for emergency medicine.  A positive update, however, will reduce somewhat the impact of the expected reduction in payments. 

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