End-Of-Year Medicare Payments Will Be Delayed
Physicians, hospitals and other health care providers will not receive Medicare reimbursements from Sept. 22 through Sept. 30, the last nine days of the current fiscal year, to move some program expenditures into the next fiscal year, the AP/Washington Times reports. The Medicare "holiday," which Congress ordered, will allow the federal government to move $5.2 billion in Medicare expenditures to the next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1.
Providers affected by the delayed Medicare reimbursements will receive payments in full after Oct. 1, but the federal government will not pay interest.
Herb Kuhn, director of the Center for Medicare Management at CMS, said that the agency has informed providers about the delayed Medicare reimbursements and has received no complaints. Kuhn said, "For a lot of them, it should be pretty seamless. It may affect some of their cash flow but won't affect it significantly."
Senate Finance Committee spokesperson Jill Kozeny said, "The alternative was to cut reimbursements to providers this year. With this payment shift, we avoid that cut" (AP/Washington Times, 8/25).