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CMS Instructs Carriers to Hold Medicare Payments for Two Weeks In Anticipation of SGR Reduction Delay
On March 31, 2014, Congress finalized legislation to temporarily prevent a scheduled decrease in Medicare reimbursements to providers that was set to take effect on April 1, 2014. The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, H.R. 4302, has now been sent to President Obama who is expected to quickly sign it. The law will delay the reductions for one year.
In the hope that Congress would intervene to prevent the reductions from taking effect, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) instructed all Medicare Administrative Contractors to hold any claims for services paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule with dates of service on or after April 1, 2014, until April 14, 2013. All claims for services delivered on or before March 31, 2014, will be processed and paid under normal procedures.
CMS believes that this hold should have a minimal impact on provider cash flow because, under current law, clean electronic claims are not paid any sooner than 14 calendar days (29 days for paper claims) after the date of receipt.
Update: The President signed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 on April 1.