Congress Boosts Conversion Factor through December 31

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Even though the government appeared poised to take a big share out of your next Medicare Part B payments, you've now a few days before you need to worry about losing payments. That's because the 23 percent Medicare Physician Fee Schedule conversion factor that practices have feared since January was once again kicked to the curb by Congress.

On November 18, the Senate voted to stop the Medicare physician pay cut for a month, and the House returned from thanksgiving break on Nov 29, at which point they also voted to freeze Medicare pay through the end of 2010.

As most practices are aware, last June, Congress voted to not only delay a 21 percent cut to your Medicare pay, but to boost your revenue by 2.2 percent. But, that vote only kept the cuts at bay through November 30.

Medicare pay is set to go down 25 percent with effect from January 1, 2011 and the present legislation does not change that. During a Nov 16 CMS Open Door Forum, CMS representatives decided to elucidate information covered in the 2011 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule, released recently.

The rule's written under current law, which means that it takes into account the schedule of negative updates to the SGR. If the law were to change, we'd put out revised files and rates to reflect any changes in the law.

Important points you do not want to miss in the 2011 Fee Schedule include: With effect from January 1, deductibles will be eliminated for most preventive services as prescribed in the Affordable Care Act and the 20 percent coisurance for those procedures will be waived as well. See the Fee Schedule for specifics on which preventive services are covered under this policy.

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