Government Shutdown and Effect on Medicare

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid (CMS) has announced that there will be no disruption in the processing and payment of Medicare claims due to the partial government shutdown. The most significant impact on imaging providers will be a temporary caseation in the credentialing and re-credentialing of physicians.

All other services will continue despite the appropriations impasse because money used to pay Medicare benefits is not subject to the appropriations process (it is an entitlement program not a discretionary program) and the processing of Medicare claims is deemed “essential,”.

According to a recent announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the parent agency for CMS, the only CMS activities adversely affected by a government shutdown will be:

  • CMS would suspend funding for the healthcare fraud and abuse strike force teams; and
  • CMS would conduct fewer re-certifications and initial certifications for providers.

It should be noted that this appropriations impasse is unrelated to the upcoming Debt Limit debate that will ensue in a few weeks.  Like the Appropriations problem, the failure of the Congress and the President to agree on legislation raising the Debt Limit could also result in a government shutdown.

As always, ADVOCATE will keep you up to date on this and all issues impacting radiology as they become available.

Best regards,
Kirk Reinitz, CPA 
President