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ACP implores President Bush to sign Medicare bill today to avert cut scheduled for Tuesday
Date:7/14/2008

Washington "Today President Bush MUST join with the large bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress who have listened to concerned patients and doctors by approving H.R. 6331, and sign this bill into law todaythe final day left until Medicare is expected to begin processing claims with devastating cuts in payment for physician services," Jeffrey P. Harris, MD, FACP, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP) emphasized today.

"Presidential action is absolutely critical today because starting tomorrow -- July 15 -- Medicare is required to pay physicians for services provided since the first of this month," Dr. Harris explained. "Medicare will also cut payments for those same services by 10.6 percent, which would be devastating to virtually every practice in America. Dr. Harris explained that earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services instructed its contractors to put a "hold" on paying physicians' claims until July 15. Once this hold expires on Tuesday, contractors presumably will have no choice but to process the claims with the 10.6 percrent cut required by current lawunless, that is, President Bush immediately signs H.R. 6331 into law. H.R. 6331 will halt the 10.6 percent cut, retroactive to July 1; provide a positive update in 2009 instead of another scheduled 5.4 percent cut; and make improvements in coverage and payment policies for prevention and primary care.

"ACP's 126,000-member internists are caught in limbo. Either Medicare will cut doctor payments by 10.6 percent starting on Tuesday, or Medicare will extend the hold of our claims and in the meantime pay us nothing at all for care internists have already delivered, creating big cash flow problems for practices," Dr. Harris noted.

"Last week, the Senate gave overwhelming, bipartisan approval to legislation to avert cuts in Medicare physician payment updates. The votes in both the Senate and House in favor of H.R. 6331 are mor
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Contact: David Kinsman
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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