Rather than seeking a long-term solution for the physician reimbursement crisis, Congress will likely postpone the looming 23-percent cut from Dec. 1 to either Feb. 1 or March 1, Medscape Medical News reports.

Since 2003 Medicare spending on physician services has triggered an annual pay cut, and each year Congress has postponed it with a temporary "doc fix."

An additional 6.5-percent cut is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, which would cause the scheduled reimbursement reduction to reach 29.5 percent in 2011.

According to policy experts, physicians should not expect a serious policy discussion on the issue to take place on Capitol Hill until the dust settles after the mid-term elections in November. Congress has adjourned and is expected to reconvene for a one-week “lame-duck” session in mid-November.

The AASM recently signed on to a letter with 117 medical specialty societies and physician organizations that urged leadership in the House of Representatives to take action during that session to address this matter.

The AASM will continue to keep members informed as new developments occur.