CMS has instructed all MACs to put a hold on processing all Medicare claims with dates of service April 1 or later. This is to avoid significant reprocessing of claims due to anticipated sequestration-related changes to payment levels presently before congress and expected to pass. The halt is temporary and is not expected to significantly affect practice cash flow.

There is a 2% Medicare sequestration required by law, but a moratorium on that sequestration, placed as part of the CARES act, was in place until yesterday, March 31. Last week, the US Senate voted 90-2 to extend that moratorium through the end of 2021. The House of Representatives had previously passed a moratorium extension bill, but the Senate bill included some changes and the House must vote on the new version passed by the Senate.

The House is presently on recess, but is expected to pass the bill when it returns on April 13. The President expected to sign it. The MACs will resume processing claims as soon as the legislation becomes law. In the highly unlikely event this does not happen, the MACs will be instructed to resume processing, but with the 2% reduced payment rates.

This article is completely serious, despite its publication on April 1.