CMS Implements Two-Month Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Fix. President Obama has signed into law an appropriations bill that includes a 2-month freeze in physician fee schedule payments, instead of the 21.2% cut that was set to go into effect January 1, 2010. CMS has provided instructions to Medicare contractors on the processing of 2010 physician fee schedule claims that temporarily had been put on hold while the legislation was pending. Under the CMS policy, contractors are directed to begin processing claims at the new rates no later than January 19, 2010. CMS also has extended the 2010 Annual Participation Enrollment Program deadline from January 31, 2010, to March 17, 2010 in light of the temporary changes in physician rates. CMS notes, however, that the effective date for any participation status change during the enrollment extension remains January 1, 2010, and will be in force for the entire year.