On June 30, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the “Proposed Rule”), which retracts a policy adopted under the calendar year 2011 Physician Fee Schedule final rule. Specifically, the Proposed Rule withdraws the requirement that the signature of a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner is required on a requisition for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests paid under the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (“CLFS”). Accordingly, the Proposed Rule reinstates the prior policy that the signature of a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner is not required on a requisition for Medicare purposes for such clinical diagnostic laboratory tests paid under CLFS.

CMS stated that it is proposing to reinstate the prior policy based on concerns noted by stakeholders regarding the practical effects of the retracted policy requiring the signature on beneficiaries, physicians and non-physician practitioners. Industry stakeholders provided CMS with unsolicited comments identifying the many different situations in which a physician or non-physician practitioner may direct staff to prepare requisitions for laboratory tests, but would be unavailable to provide their signature. CMS issued the Proposed Rule in response to these concerns.

Comments on the Proposed Rule must be submitted on or before August 29, 2011.