Government Shutdown and Effect on Medicare

Many healthcare providers are concerned with the Government Shutdown announced today. Here is what Clinic Service would like to share with our clients about what we know so far and how it may affect your medical practice.

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," the Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid (CMS) has announced that there should be no disruption in the processing and payment of Medicare claims.  In fact, most CMS activities of will continue despite the appropriations impasse.

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 would be:

  1. CMS would temporarily suspend funding for the healthcare fraud and abuse strike force teams; and
  2. CMS would conduct fewer re-certifications and initial certifications for providers subject to Medicare survey and certification.

Finally, 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.