Proposal Would Revise Medicare Payment Rules for Reservists
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) plans to introduce a bill that would revise a rule to allow physicians who serve in the National Guard or reserves and are called to active duty to continue to receive Medicare reimbursements for the duration of their deployments, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Under the rule, physicians who take a leave of absence from their practices and hire substitutes to provide care to their patients can continue to receive Medicare reimbursements for no more than 60 days.
Thompson estimates that the legislation, which Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) has agreed to co-sponsor, would affect about 3,000 physicians.
According to the Chronicle, the bill "has drawn quick bipartisan support" in Congress because "it corrects what members view as an obvious injustice."
The American Medical Association and the Reserve Officers Association support the legislation, and CMS officials have said that they will not oppose the bill.
Johnson said, "It seems to me there shouldn't be a 60-day limit when doctors are called up" to active duty.
Thompson said, "I'm confident we'll be able to fix it because everyone realizes it needs to be fixed" (Epstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/19).