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CMS delays requirement for signatures on labs

CMS is freezing a rule that would require your physicians and non-physician providers (NPPs) to sign requisitions for lab tests. This requirement, introduced in the 2011 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule, was to take effect Jan. 1, 2011 and would've applied to all lab tests paid under the clinical laboratory fee schedule.

We covered this issue of lab signatures in a recent edition of the NPP ReportRemember: Requisitions are defined as the actual paperwork given to a lab that specifies the tests to be performed for a patient.

More than a few physician organizations, including the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), complained about the change, saying there wasn't enough time given to education.

CMS cited this reason for its freeze, and plans to develop "educational and outreach materials to educate those affected by this policy," the agency notes on its clinical labs page. Don't expect this to go away, or even for it linger frozen for long -- "Once our first quarter of 2011 educational campaign is fully underway, CMS will expect requisitions to be signed," the agency says.

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