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Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

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  • Ms V
    ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don t think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It s not just the
    Message 1 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
      ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****



      WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled
      10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress
      time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.


      Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,
      patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration's
      delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess
      to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before
      leaving town.


      Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human
      Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
      Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after
      July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as
      usual, he said.


      Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in
      November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the
      week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who
      treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that
      requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

      HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt
      had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the
      department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and
      beneficiaries." On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to
      delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.


      "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or
      after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction
      until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.


      Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week
      the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation
      that would have stopped the cut.




      Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less
      willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each
      other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,
      said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."


      "Seniors
      need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make
      that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers
      read by members of Congress and their aides.


      Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to
      cover rising costs.

      This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage
      program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush
      administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the
      elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather
      than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to
      the insurers are too generous.


      The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill
      that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.


      That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation
      355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat
      supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.


      Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking
      contributed to this report.



      Viola Roberts
      Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
      www.midatlantic-solutions.org
      The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Michelle Uhl
      THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION.....  AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!! ... From: Ms V
      Message 2 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
        THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION.....  AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!



        ----- Original Message ----
        From: Ms V <viola_rrob@...>
        To: medicalbillers@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: ericacodes@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM
        Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)



        ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****

        WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled
        10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress
        time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.


        Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,
        patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s
        delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess
        to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before
        leaving town.

        Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human
        Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
        Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after
        July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as
        usual, he said.

        Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in
        November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the
        week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who
        treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that
        requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

        HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt
        had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the
        department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and
        beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to
        delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.

        "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or
        after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction
        until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.

        Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week
        the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation
        that would have stopped the cut.

        Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less
        willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each
        other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,
        said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."

        "Seniors
        need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make
        that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers
        read by members of Congress and their aides.

        Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to
        cover rising costs.

        This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage
        program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush
        administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the
        elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather
        than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to
        the insurers are too generous.

        The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill
        that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.

        That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation
        355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat
        supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.

        Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking
        contributed to this report.

        Viola Roberts
        Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
        www.midatlantic- solutions. org
        The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ms V
        You are most welcome! How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they are paid! Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors
        Message 3 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
          You are most welcome!

          How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they are paid!
          Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their claims too?


          Viola Roberts
          Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
          www.midatlantic-solutions.org
          The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!


          --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@...> wrote:
          From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@...>
          Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)
          To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM











          THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!



          ----- Original Message ----

          From: Ms V <viola_rrob@yahoo. com>

          To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com

          Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com

          Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM

          Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)



          ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****



          WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled

          10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress

          time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.



          Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,

          patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s

          delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess

          to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before

          leaving town.



          Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human

          Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

          Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after

          July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as

          usual, he said.



          Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in

          November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the

          week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who

          treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that

          requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.



          HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

          had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the

          department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and

          beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to

          delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.



          "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or

          after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction

          until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.



          Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week

          the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation

          that would have stopped the cut.



          Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less

          willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each

          other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,

          said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."



          "Seniors

          need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make

          that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers

          read by members of Congress and their aides.



          Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to

          cover rising costs.



          This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage

          program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush

          administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the

          elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather

          than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to

          the insurers are too generous.



          The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill

          that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.



          That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation

          355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat

          supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.



          Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking

          contributed to this report.



          Viola Roberts

          Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

          www.midatlantic- solutions. org

          The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


























          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Terry Pierce
          Exactly! Great Point!  Further more what about the fact that CMS has switched who they are contracted with?  In our region we have Highmark BCBS PA, and I
          Message 4 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
            Exactly! Great Point!  Further more what about the fact that CMS has switched who they are contracted with?  In our region we have Highmark BCBS PA, and I know we have seen a slow down in receivables, although they say that the transition will not create a cash flow problem, I know that it has.  Anyone else see this trend?
             Terry J. Pierce, CPC



            ----- Original Message ----
            From: Ms V <viola_rrob@...>
            To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:39:06 PM
            Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)


            You are most welcome!

            How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they are paid!
            Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their claims too?

            Viola Roberts
            Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
            www.midatlantic- solutions. org
            The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

            --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com> wrote:
            From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>
            Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)
            To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
            Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM

            THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!

            ----- Original Message ----

            From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

            To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com

            Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com

            Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM

            Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

            ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****

            WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled

            10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress

            time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

            Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,

            patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s

            delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess

            to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before

            leaving town.

            Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human

            Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

            Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after

            July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as

            usual, he said.

            Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in

            November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the

            week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who

            treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that

            requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

            HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

            had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the

            department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and

            beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to

            delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.

            "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or

            after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction

            until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.

            Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week

            the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation

            that would have stopped the cut.

            Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less

            willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each

            other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,

            said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."

            "Seniors

            need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make

            that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers

            read by members of Congress and their aides.

            Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to

            cover rising costs.

            This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage

            program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush

            administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the

            elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather

            than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to

            the insurers are too generous.

            The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill

            that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.

            That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation

            355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat

            supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.

            Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking

            contributed to this report.

            Viola Roberts

            Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

            www.midatlantic- solutions. org

            The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]











            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ms V
            Hey Terry - I m in PA too. I deal with Highmark as well! Viola Roberts Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions www.midatlantic-solutions.org The Pieces of the
            Message 5 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
              Hey Terry -

              I'm in PA too. I deal with Highmark as well!

              Viola Roberts
              Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
              www.midatlantic-solutions.org
              The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!


              --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Terry Pierce <tpierce301@...> wrote:
              From: Terry Pierce <tpierce301@...>
              Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)
              To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:51 PM











              Exactly! Great Point! Further more what about the fact that CMS has switched who they are contracted with? In our region we have Highmark BCBS PA, and I know we have seen a slow down in receivables, although they say that the transition will not create a cash flow problem, I know that it has. Anyone else see this trend?

              Terry J. Pierce, CPC



              ----- Original Message ----

              From: Ms V <viola_rrob@yahoo. com>

              To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com

              Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:39:06 PM

              Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)



              You are most welcome!



              How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they are paid!

              Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their claims too?



              Viola Roberts

              Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

              www.midatlantic- solutions. org

              The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!



              --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com> wrote:

              From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>

              Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

              To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com

              Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM



              THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!



              ----- Original Message ----



              From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>



              To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com



              Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com



              Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM



              Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)



              ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****



              WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled



              10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress



              time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.



              Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,



              patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s



              delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess



              to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before



              leaving town.



              Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human



              Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid



              Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after



              July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as



              usual, he said.



              Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in



              November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the



              week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who



              treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that



              requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.



              HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt



              had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the



              department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and



              beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to



              delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.



              "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or



              after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction



              until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.



              Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week



              the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation



              that would have stopped the cut.



              Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less



              willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each



              other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,



              said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."



              "Seniors



              need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make



              that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers



              read by members of Congress and their aides.



              Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to



              cover rising costs.



              This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage



              program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush



              administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the



              elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather



              than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to



              the insurers are too generous.



              The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill



              that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.



              That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation



              355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat



              supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.



              Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking



              contributed to this report.



              Viola Roberts



              Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions



              www.midatlantic- solutions. org



              The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


























              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Michelle Uhl
              not sure but we are already having issues with medicare crossovers so this will just make matters worse! ... From: Ms V To:
              Message 6 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
                not sure but we are already having issues with medicare crossovers so this will just make matters worse!



                ----- Original Message ----
                From: Ms V <viola_rrob@...>
                To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:39:06 PM
                Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)


                You are most welcome!

                How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they are paid!
                Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their claims too?

                Viola Roberts
                Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
                www.midatlantic- solutions. org
                The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com> wrote:
                From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>
                Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)
                To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM

                THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!

                ----- Original Message ----

                From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

                To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com

                Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com

                Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM

                Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****

                WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled

                10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress

                time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

                Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,

                patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s

                delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess

                to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before

                leaving town.

                Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human

                Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

                Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after

                July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as

                usual, he said.

                Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in

                November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the

                week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who

                treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that

                requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

                HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

                had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the

                department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and

                beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to

                delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.

                "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or

                after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction

                until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.

                Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week

                the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation

                that would have stopped the cut.

                Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less

                willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each

                other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,

                said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."

                "Seniors

                need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make

                that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers

                read by members of Congress and their aides.

                Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to

                cover rising costs.

                This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage

                program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush

                administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the

                elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather

                than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to

                the insurers are too generous.

                The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill

                that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.

                That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation

                355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat

                supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.

                Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking

                contributed to this report.

                Viola Roberts

                Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                www.midatlantic- solutions. org

                The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]











                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Terry Pierce
                Hi there, have you read the last two bulletins that Highmark sent out?  If you didn t I can fax them to you, it is a very interesting read.  I can tell you
                Message 7 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
                  Hi there, have you read the last two bulletins that Highmark sent out?  If you didn't I can fax them to you, it is a very interesting read.  I can tell you that I am not looking forward to the transition at all!

                   Terry J. Pierce, CPC



                  ----- Original Message ----
                  From: Ms V <viola_rrob@...>
                  To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:00:29 PM
                  Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)


                  Hey Terry -

                  I'm in PA too. I deal with Highmark as well!

                  Viola Roberts
                  Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
                  www.midatlantic- solutions. org
                  The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                  --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Terry Pierce <tpierce301@yahoo. com> wrote:
                  From: Terry Pierce <tpierce301@yahoo. com>
                  Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)
                  To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                  Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:51 PM

                  Exactly! Great Point! Further more what about the fact that CMS has switched who they are contracted with? In our region we have Highmark BCBS PA, and I know we have seen a slow down in receivables, although they say that the transition will not create a cash flow problem, I know that it has. Anyone else see this trend?

                  Terry J. Pierce, CPC

                  ----- Original Message ----

                  From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

                  To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com

                  Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:39:06 PM

                  Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                  You are most welcome!

                  How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they are paid!

                  Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their claims too?

                  Viola Roberts

                  Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                  www.midatlantic- solutions. org

                  The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                  --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                  From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>

                  Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                  To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com

                  Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM

                  THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!

                  ----- Original Message ----

                  From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

                  To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com

                  Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com

                  Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM

                  Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                  ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****

                  WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled

                  10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress

                  time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

                  Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,

                  patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s

                  delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess

                  to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before

                  leaving town.

                  Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human

                  Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

                  Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after

                  July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as

                  usual, he said.

                  Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in

                  November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the

                  week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who

                  treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that

                  requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

                  HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

                  had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the

                  department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and

                  beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to

                  delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.

                  "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or

                  after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction

                  until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.

                  Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week

                  the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation

                  that would have stopped the cut.

                  Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less

                  willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each

                  other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,

                  said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."

                  "Seniors

                  need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make

                  that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers

                  read by members of Congress and their aides.

                  Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to

                  cover rising costs.

                  This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage

                  program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush

                  administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the

                  elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather

                  than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to

                  the insurers are too generous.

                  The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill

                  that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.

                  That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation

                  355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat

                  supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.

                  Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking

                  contributed to this report.

                  Viola Roberts

                  Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                  www.midatlantic- solutions.. org

                  The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]











                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Terry Pierce
                  Oh my so far thankfully we haven t had that issue yet but we are just now posting payments from the 26th of this month, who knows what will happen later. 
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
                    Oh my so far thankfully we haven't had that issue yet but we are just now posting payments from the 26th of this month, who knows what will happen later.  Are you secondaries saying that they aren't receiving claims?
                     Terry J. Pierce, CPC



                    ----- Original Message ----
                    From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@...>
                    To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:09:44 PM
                    Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)


                    not sure but we are already having issues with medicare crossovers so this will just make matters worse!

                    ----- Original Message ----
                    From: Ms V <viola_rrob@yahoo. com>
                    To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                    Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:39:06 PM
                    Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                    You are most welcome!

                    How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they are paid!
                    Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their claims too?

                    Viola Roberts
                    Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
                    www.midatlantic- solutions. org
                    The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                    --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com> wrote:
                    From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>
                    Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)
                    To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                    Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM

                    THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!

                    ----- Original Message ----

                    From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

                    To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com

                    Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com

                    Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM

                    Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                    ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****

                    WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled

                    10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress

                    time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

                    Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,

                    patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s

                    delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess

                    to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before

                    leaving town.

                    Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human

                    Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

                    Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after

                    July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as

                    usual, he said.

                    Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in

                    November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the

                    week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who

                    treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that

                    requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

                    HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

                    had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the

                    department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and

                    beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to

                    delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.

                    "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or

                    after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction

                    until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.

                    Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week

                    the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation

                    that would have stopped the cut.

                    Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less

                    willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each

                    other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,

                    said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."

                    "Seniors

                    need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make

                    that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers

                    read by members of Congress and their aides.

                    Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to

                    cover rising costs.

                    This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage

                    program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush

                    administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the

                    elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather

                    than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to

                    the insurers are too generous.

                    The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill

                    that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.

                    That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation

                    355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat

                    supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.

                    Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking

                    contributed to this report.

                    Viola Roberts

                    Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                    www.midatlantic- solutions. org

                    The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Michelle Uhl
                    actually.. our secondary (in this case medicaid of nc) received the claims but medicare is leaving off information that medicaid in NC needs to process the
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
                      actually.. our secondary (in this case medicaid of nc) received the claims but medicare is leaving off information that medicaid in NC needs to process the claim. (the 9 digit zip code for service facility and billing provider) as well as the individual facility's pid (medicaid requires this still when you have more than one location under the same npi. we have been back and forth with medicaid and medicare on this and simply not sure how it will resolve at this point.  luckily the primary claims to medicaid are being paid so we knew it was not anything we had incorrect in our system. 



                      ----- Original Message ----
                      From: Terry Pierce <tpierce301@...>
                      To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:22:59 PM
                      Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)


                      Oh my so far thankfully we haven't had that issue yet but we are just now posting payments from the 26th of this month, who knows what will happen later.  Are you secondaries saying that they aren't receiving claims?
                       Terry J. Pierce, CPC

                      ----- Original Message ----
                      From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>
                      To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                      Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:09:44 PM
                      Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                      not sure but we are already having issues with medicare crossovers so this will just make matters worse!

                      ----- Original Message ----
                      From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>
                      To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                      Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:39:06 PM
                      Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                      You are most welcome!

                      How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they are paid!
                      Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their claims too?

                      Viola Roberts
                      Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
                      www.midatlantic- solutions. org
                      The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                      --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com> wrote:
                      From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>
                      Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)
                      To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                      Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM

                      THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!

                      ----- Original Message ----

                      From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

                      To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com

                      Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com

                      Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM

                      Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                      ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****

                      WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled

                      10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress

                      time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

                      Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,

                      patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s

                      delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess

                      to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before

                      leaving town.

                      Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human

                      Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

                      Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after

                      July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as

                      usual, he said.

                      Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in

                      November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the

                      week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who

                      treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that

                      requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

                      HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

                      had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the

                      department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and

                      beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to

                      delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.

                      "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or

                      after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction

                      until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.

                      Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week

                      the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation

                      that would have stopped the cut.

                      Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less

                      willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each

                      other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,

                      said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."

                      "Seniors

                      need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make

                      that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers

                      read by members of Congress and their aides.

                      Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to

                      cover rising costs.

                      This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage

                      program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush

                      administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the

                      elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather

                      than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to

                      the insurers are too generous.

                      The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill

                      that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.

                      That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation

                      355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat

                      supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.

                      Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking

                      contributed to this report.

                      Viola Roberts

                      Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                      www.midatlantic- solutions. org

                      The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Terry Pierce
                      We had a similar very similar situation, which now has magically been resloved, I guess they were tired of the daily phone calls we were making.  I think
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
                        We had a similar very similar situation, which now has magically been resloved, I guess they were tired of the daily phone calls we were making.  I think we lucked out, I know we threatned to drop seeing any more medical assitance patients (even though we really wouldnt do that)
                         Terry J. Pierce, CPC



                        ----- Original Message ----
                        From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@...>
                        To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 2:01:35 PM
                        Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)


                        actually.. our secondary (in this case medicaid of nc) received the claims but medicare is leaving off information that medicaid in NC needs to process the claim. (the 9 digit zip code for service facility and billing provider) as well as the individual facility's pid (medicaid requires this still when you have more than one location under the same npi. we have been back and forth with medicaid and medicare on this and simply not sure how it will resolve at this point.  luckily the primary claims to medicaid are being paid so we knew it was not anything we had incorrect in our system. 

                        ----- Original Message ----
                        From: Terry Pierce <tpierce301@yahoo. com>
                        To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                        Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:22:59 PM
                        Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                        Oh my so far thankfully we haven't had that issue yet but we are just now posting payments from the 26th of this month, who knows what will happen later.  Are you secondaries saying that they aren't receiving claims?
                         Terry J. Pierce, CPC

                        ----- Original Message ----
                        From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>
                        To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                        Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:09:44 PM
                        Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                        not sure but we are already having issues with medicare crossovers so this will just make matters worse!

                        ----- Original Message ----
                        From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>
                        To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                        Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:39:06 PM
                        Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                        You are most welcome!

                        How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they are paid!
                        Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their claims too?

                        Viola Roberts
                        Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
                        www.midatlantic- solutions. org
                        The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                        --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com> wrote:
                        From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>
                        Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)
                        To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                        Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM

                        THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!

                        ----- Original Message ----

                        From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

                        To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com

                        Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com

                        Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM

                        Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                        ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****

                        WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled

                        10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress

                        time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

                        Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,

                        patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s

                        delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess

                        to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before

                        leaving town.

                        Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human

                        Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

                        Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after

                        July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as

                        usual, he said.

                        Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in

                        November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the

                        week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who

                        treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that

                        requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

                        HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

                        had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the

                        department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and

                        beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to

                        delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.

                        "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or

                        after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction

                        until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.

                        Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week

                        the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation

                        that would have stopped the cut.

                        Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less

                        willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each

                        other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,

                        said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."

                        "Seniors

                        need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make

                        that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers

                        read by members of Congress and their aides.

                        Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to

                        cover rising costs.

                        This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage

                        program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush

                        administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the

                        elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather

                        than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to

                        the insurers are too generous.

                        The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill

                        that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.

                        That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation

                        355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat

                        supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.

                        Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking

                        contributed to this report.

                        Viola Roberts

                        Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                        www.midatlantic- solutions.. org

                        The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Lin
                        I do mainly all consulting now and have quite a few providers in PA and actually I have to say Highmark is probably our best payor. We have experienced some
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
                          I do mainly all consulting now and have quite a few providers in PA and
                          actually I have to say Highmark is probably our best payor. We have
                          experienced some NPI blips but that's about it.





                          Linda Walker

                          Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
                          <http://www.billerswebsite.com> http://www.billerswebsite.com
                          A division of K&L Media, LLC
                          <http://www.klmediallc.com> http://www.klmediallc.com

                          Website Design & Management for the Medical Services Industry







                          From: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com]
                          On Behalf Of Ms V
                          Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:00 PM
                          To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare
                          fees (AP)



                          Hey Terry -

                          I'm in PA too. I deal with Highmark as well!

                          Viola Roberts
                          Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
                          www.midatlantic-solutions.org
                          The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                          --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Terry Pierce <tpierce301@...
                          <mailto:tpierce301%40yahoo.com> > wrote:
                          From: Terry Pierce <tpierce301@... <mailto:tpierce301%40yahoo.com> >
                          Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare
                          fees (AP)
                          To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com <mailto:MedicalBillers%40yahoogroups.com>

                          Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:51 PM

                          Exactly! Great Point! Further more what about the fact that CMS has switched
                          who they are contracted with? In our region we have Highmark BCBS PA, and I
                          know we have seen a slow down in receivables, although they say that the
                          transition will not create a cash flow problem, I know that it has. Anyone
                          else see this trend?

                          Terry J. Pierce, CPC

                          ----- Original Message ----

                          From: Ms V <viola_rrob@yahoo. com>

                          To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com

                          Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:39:06 PM

                          Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare
                          fees (AP)

                          You are most welcome!

                          How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they
                          are paid!

                          Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their
                          claims too?

                          Viola Roberts

                          Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                          www.midatlantic- solutions. org

                          The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                          --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                          From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>

                          Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare
                          fees (AP)

                          To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com

                          Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM

                          THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE
                          VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!

                          ----- Original Message ----

                          From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

                          To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com

                          Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com

                          Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM

                          Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees
                          (AP)

                          ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians
                          have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the
                          physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****

                          WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it
                          is freezing a scheduled

                          10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress

                          time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

                          Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,

                          patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s

                          delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the
                          recess

                          to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before

                          leaving town.

                          Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human

                          Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

                          Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or
                          after

                          July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as

                          usual, he said.

                          Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in

                          November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington
                          the

                          week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who

                          treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that

                          requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

                          HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

                          had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the

                          department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and

                          beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to

                          delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.

                          "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or

                          after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent
                          reduction

                          until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.

                          Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week

                          the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to
                          legislation

                          that would have stopped the cut.

                          Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less

                          willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and
                          Republicans blamed each

                          other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical
                          Association,

                          said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."

                          "Seniors

                          need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress
                          make

                          that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers

                          read by members of Congress and their aides.

                          Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to

                          cover rising costs.

                          This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage

                          program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush

                          administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the

                          elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private
                          insurers rather

                          than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments
                          to

                          the insurers are too generous.

                          The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill

                          that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.

                          That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation

                          355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat

                          supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.

                          Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking

                          contributed to this report.

                          Viola Roberts

                          Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                          www.midatlantic- solutions. org

                          The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Terry Pierce
                          Well thanks for that, I hope all will be going well for our docs here in frederick.  I am waiting to see if there fee schedule is similar to Trailblazer or if
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jun 30, 2008
                            Well thanks for that, I hope all will be going well for our docs here in frederick.  I am waiting to see if there fee schedule is similar to Trailblazer or if we will win on some loose on some.  MSN had an interesting article about how patients are actually going out of the country for cheaper procedures and that insurance companies are looking to partner with some of these facilities and physicians since the work is done at a reduced rate.  The one person they interviewed had a total hip replacement in India.  My question is, where do you go for the follow up during your global?
                             Terry J. Pierce, CPC



                            ----- Original Message ----
                            From: Lin <italiandoll1967@...>
                            To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 2:51:10 PM
                            Subject: RE: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)


                            I do mainly all consulting now and have quite a few providers in PA and
                            actually I have to say Highmark is probably our best payor. We have
                            experienced some NPI blips but that's about it.

                            Linda Walker

                            Practice Managers Resource & Networking Community
                            <http://www.billersw ebsite.com> http://www.billersw ebsite.com
                            A division of K&L Media, LLC
                            <http://www.klmedial lc.com> http://www.klmedial lc.com

                            Website Design & Management for the Medical Services Industry

                            From: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com]
                            On Behalf Of Ms V
                            Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:00 PM
                            To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                            Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare
                            fees (AP)

                            Hey Terry -

                            I'm in PA too. I deal with Highmark as well!

                            Viola Roberts
                            Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
                            www.midatlantic- solutions. org
                            The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                            --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Terry Pierce <tpierce301@yahoo. com
                            <mailto:tpierce301% 40yahoo.com> > wrote:
                            From: Terry Pierce <tpierce301@yahoo. com <mailto:tpierce301% 40yahoo.com> >
                            Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare
                            fees (AP)
                            To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com <mailto:MedicalBill ers%40yahoogroup s.com>

                            Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:51 PM

                            Exactly! Great Point! Further more what about the fact that CMS has switched
                            who they are contracted with? In our region we have Highmark BCBS PA, and I
                            know we have seen a slow down in receivables, although they say that the
                            transition will not create a cash flow problem, I know that it has. Anyone
                            else see this trend?

                            Terry J. Pierce, CPC

                            ----- Original Message ----

                            From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

                            To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com

                            Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:39:06 PM

                            Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare
                            fees (AP)

                            You are most welcome!

                            How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they
                            are paid!

                            Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their
                            claims too?

                            Viola Roberts

                            Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                            www.midatlantic- solutions. org

                            The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                            --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                            From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>

                            Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare
                            fees (AP)

                            To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com

                            Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM

                            THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE
                            VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!

                            ----- Original Message ----

                            From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

                            To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com

                            Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com

                            Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM

                            Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees
                            (AP)

                            ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians
                            have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the
                            physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****

                            WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it
                            is freezing a scheduled

                            10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress

                            time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

                            Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,

                            patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s

                            delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the
                            recess

                            to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before

                            leaving town.

                            Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human

                            Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

                            Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or
                            after

                            July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as

                            usual, he said.

                            Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in

                            November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington
                            the

                            week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who

                            treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that

                            requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

                            HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

                            had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the

                            department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and

                            beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to

                            delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.

                            "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or

                            after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent
                            reduction

                            until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.

                            Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week

                            the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to
                            legislation

                            that would have stopped the cut.

                            Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less

                            willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and
                            Republicans blamed each

                            other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical
                            Association,

                            said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."

                            "Seniors

                            need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress
                            make

                            that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers

                            read by members of Congress and their aides.

                            Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to

                            cover rising costs.

                            This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage

                            program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush

                            administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the

                            elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private
                            insurers rather

                            than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments
                            to

                            the insurers are too generous.

                            The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill

                            that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.

                            That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation

                            355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat

                            supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.

                            Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking

                            contributed to this report.

                            Viola Roberts

                            Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                            www.midatlantic- solutions. org

                            The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • debbie brosnan
                            Jumping into this conversation. Your Medicare HMO plans will be holding payments for 10 days also. But only for those dates of service prior to July 1.
                            Message 13 of 13 , Jul 2, 2008
                              Jumping into this conversation. Your Medicare HMO plans will be holding payments for 10 days also. But only for those dates of service prior to July 1. Medicare does this periodically usually its at the fiscal year end when they havent received their budget for the next year. When Medicare on purpose holds the claims they do pay interest. It will be only pennies by its something. Its a shame we have to take such a hugh cut.

                              My cross overs are not working very well either. Because we have 185 dr in all specalities it has been very difficult to get all the NPI's to work. Medicare is fine. My Blues are starting to wind down. We test Medicaid next week.

                              Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@...> wrote:
                              actually.. our secondary (in this case medicaid of nc) received the claims but medicare is leaving off information that medicaid in NC needs to process the claim. (the 9 digit zip code for service facility and billing provider) as well as the individual facility's pid (medicaid requires this still when you have more than one location under the same npi. we have been back and forth with medicaid and medicare on this and simply not sure how it will resolve at this point. luckily the primary claims to medicaid are being paid so we knew it was not anything we had incorrect in our system.

                              ----- Original Message ----
                              From: Terry Pierce <tpierce301@...>
                              To: MedicalBillers@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:22:59 PM
                              Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                              Oh my so far thankfully we haven't had that issue yet but we are just now posting payments from the 26th of this month, who knows what will happen later. Are you secondaries saying that they aren't receiving claims?
                              Terry J. Pierce, CPC

                              ----- Original Message ----
                              From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>
                              To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                              Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:09:44 PM
                              Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                              not sure but we are already having issues with medicare crossovers so this will just make matters worse!

                              ----- Original Message ----
                              From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>
                              To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                              Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:39:06 PM
                              Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                              You are most welcome!

                              How about the fact that claims are going to be held for 10 days before they are paid!
                              Does this mean that all Medicare Advantage payors are going to hold their claims too?

                              Viola Roberts
                              Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions
                              www.midatlantic- solutions. org
                              The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                              --- On Mon, 6/30/08, Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com> wrote:
                              From: Michelle Uhl <muhl4groups@ yahoo.com>
                              Subject: Re: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)
                              To: MedicalBillers@ yahoogroups. com
                              Date: Monday, June 30, 2008, 12:11 PM

                              THANKS VIOLA!!! THAT IS VERY USEFUL INFORMATION. .... AS ALWAYS YOU HAVE VALUABLE INPUT INTO THE GROUP!! THANKS AGAIN!!

                              ----- Original Message ----

                              From: Ms V <viola_rrob@ yahoo. com>

                              To: medicalbillers@ yahoogroups. com

                              Cc: ericacodes@yahoogro ups.com

                              Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 12:02:26 PM

                              Subject: [MedicalBillers] Bush administration freezing cuts in Medicare fees (AP)

                              ***This impacts all healthcare professionals. I don't think the politicians have a clue as to how this will damage the entire system. It's not just the physicians that will feel the pinch. How much pinching can we do?****

                              WASHINGTON (6/30/2008 - Noon EST) - The Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled

                              10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress

                              time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

                              Physicians have been running ads hinting that as a result of the cuts,

                              patients may find doctors less willing to treat them. The administration' s

                              delay in implementing the cuts spares lawmakers from having to use the recess

                              to explain to seniors why they didn't do the job before

                              leaving town.

                              Kevin Schweers, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human

                              Services, said Monday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

                              Services will hold doctors' Medicare claims for services delivered on or after

                              July 1. Claims for services received on before June 30 will be processed as

                              usual, he said.

                              Congress, not willing to face millions of angry seniors at the polls in

                              November, will almost certainly act quickly when it returns to Washington the

                              week of July 7 to prevent the cuts in payments for some 600,000 doctors who

                              treat Medicare patients. The cuts were scheduled because of a formula that

                              requires fee cuts when spending exceeds established goals.

                              HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

                              had promised Friday that his agency "will take all steps available to the

                              department under the law to minimize the impact on providers and

                              beneficiaries. " On Monday, the department used its administrative tools to

                              delay implementing the scheduled 10.6 percent cuts.

                              "By holding claims for health care services that are delivered on or

                              after July 1, CMS will not be making any payments on the 10.6 percent reduction

                              until July 15 at the earliest," Schweers said.

                              Almost every year, Congress finds a way to block such cuts. But last week

                              the Senate fell just one vote short of the 60 needed to proceed to legislation

                              that would have stopped the cut.

                              Physicians have been running ads hinting that patients may find doctors less

                              willing to treat them. In a particularly vitriolic exchange, Democrats and Republicans blamed each

                              other for what Dr. Nancy H. Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association,

                              said has put the country "at the brink of a Medicare meltdown."

                              "Seniors

                              need continued access to the doctors they trust. It's urgent that Congress make

                              that happen," the AMA said in ads taken out in Capitol Hill newspapers

                              read by members of Congress and their aides.

                              Doctors have complained for years that Medicare payments have failed to

                              cover rising costs.

                              This year majority Democrats homed in on cutting the Medicare Advantage

                              program, which is an ideological issue for both parties. The Bush

                              administration and Republicans like Medicare Advantage because it lets the

                              elderly and disabled choose to get their health benefits through private insurers rather

                              than through traditional Medicare. Democrats argued that government payments to

                              the insurers are too generous.

                              The White House warned that President Bush would be urged to veto a bill

                              that contained cuts to Medicare Advantage.

                              That didn't stop the House last Tuesday from approving the legislation

                              355-59, well above the margin needed to override a veto. Every Democrat

                              supported it, and Republicans, bucking their president, voted 129-59 for it.

                              Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking

                              contributed to this report.

                              Viola Roberts

                              Mid-Atlantic Healthcare Solutions

                              www.midatlantic- solutions. org

                              The "Pieces of the Puzzle" experts!

                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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