CMS Physician Signature Requirement Withdrawal Hits a Snag; However, the Requirement is Not Being Enforced.

We interrupt our four-part blog series on LOINC with this important update. Many are closely following the signature rule and waiting for CMS to officially announce they have rescinded the signature rule. The agency had sent an interim final rule to rescind the signature requirement to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review on March 21. However, administration lawyers said the interim rule could not go forward as presented, because CMS must go through the proper federal rulemaking process. That is, issue a notice or rule with a comment period. The result is that the process of rescinding the rule may not conclude until the end of 2011.

The official rescission of the requirement most likely will appear in the proposed Medicare physician fee schedule expected this summer, according to a report issued by American Medical News. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of House and Senate legislators have been urging CMS Administrator Don Berwick, MD, to at least delay enforcing the requirement until 2012, and per the Dark Daily e-newsletter published April 5, 2011, the CMS has instructed its Medicare contractors to not enforce the physician signature requirement. More to come.

Ginger Wooster, MBA, MT (ASCP)
Director of Regulatory Affairs & Applications Specialist
Orchard Software Corporation