Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Medicare 21% doctor or provider reimbursement cut takes effect March 1, as a result of Sen. Bunning's gambit in the Senate

A 21% reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates took effect Monday, March 1, automatically, as a result of a Sustainable Growth Rate Formula (SGR) that took effect in 1997. But doctors are warning that Medicare patients may have a hard time finding care if Congress does not reverse the cut in the next couple of weeks, the amount of time it takes Medicare billing to start.

The cut is a result of a block put in by Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY), also affecting extended unemployment benefits and highway funds. Now Bunning says that he will support these appropriations of Congress will find a way to pay for them, by taking off the table some unspent TARP or economic stimulus money. (Jim Bunning is a former Detroit Tigers pitcher who made a career of shutting out the Washington Senators back in the 1950s.)

The CBS news version of the story (by Lynn Taylor Rick) is here.

Particularly hit (and disturbing if affected) could be skilled nursing facility stays, often intermediate placements when patients leave the hospital for rehabilitation that could make them better. This could become very disruptive to families.

CNN’s story is even more alarming: “Ditched by your doctor: blame Medicare”, link here.

A similar AP story is widely circulating today.

Later Tuesday:

A deal was reached to end Bunnung's filibuster (multiple sources).


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