Physicians Demand $200 Million Owed by Medicare

December 14, 2010
Terri Cullen

More than 100 physicians and physicians groups signed a letter asking the federal government to quickly detail how it intends to pay out $200 million set aside in recent legislation for overdue Medicare reimbursements.

More than 100 physicians groups signed a letter asking the federal government to quickly detail how it intends to pay out $200 million set aside in recent legislation for overdue Medicare reimbursements.

A provision of the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010, which pushed back the looming 25% cut in Medicare reimbursements for physicians for one year, set aside $200 million for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to process the overdue payments.

The CMS failed to make a number of retroactive Medicare payment increases in 2010, according to the letter. The payments stem from several provisions in the Affordable Care Act, as well as certain corrections in the final 2010 physician fee schedule rule, the letter stated.

The doctors groups called the delay in reimbursements “highly disruptive,” and detailed the fallout medical practices have suffered as a result. “Many practices were forced to seek loans to meet payroll expenses, lay off staff or cancel capital improvements and investments in electronic health records and other technology,” the letter stated.

One specific underpayment cited involved cardiology codes. “The final 2010 fee schedule rule undervalued a number of cardiology codes due to errors in the CMS’s calculation of the practice expenses associated with myocardial perfusion imaging and professional liability insurance expenses for a number of high risk procedures, i.e. neurosurgery and cardiovascular,” the letter said.