Medicare payments for pathology and other physician services are getting cut 5 percent next year, barring an act of Congress.

According to G2reports.com, physician groups are lobbying the lame-duck Congress to act before the change is implemented on January 1, 2007.

The Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services estimates the combined impact from the cut and changes to work and practice expense relative value units will be 6 percent in 2007 followed by a 7 percent cut in 2010. Independent labs will gain 2 percent next year and 17 percent in 2010; diagnostic testing facilities will see a cut of 2 percent in 2007 and 6 percent in 2010.

CMS is also doing away with the grandfather protection now available to certain independent lab billings for pathology technical component services to hospital inpatients and outpatients.

In 2007 Medicare will increase reimbursement for flow cytometry technical component services which could result in gains between 14 and 25 percent.