Late Tuesday night, the U.S. Senate voted to freeze physicians' Medicare payment rates once again, forestalling a 21.2-percent cut that otherwise would have affected all claims for services provided in March. The freeze extends 2009 rates until April 1.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said it removed the 10-day hold on Medicare claims it instituted on March 1.
"This 28-day freeze is worthless if Congress doesn't spend the next 28 days devising and passing a permanent new Medicare payment formula," said Texas Medical Association President William H. Fleming III, MD. "We need a rational Medicare physician payment system that automatically keeps up with the cost of running a practice and is backed by a fair, stable funding formula."
Dr. Fleming urged TMA and alliance members to use the TMA Grassroots Action Center to send that message to Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison and the Texas delegation in the House of Representatives.
"We need Washington to understand that they're playing politics with our patients' lives," Dr. Fleming said.