Medicare won't require physicians to sign lab test requisitions

May 1, 2011

CMS will rescind a new Medicare rule requiring physicians to provide their signatures on requisitions for laboratory tests.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will rescind a new Medicare rule requiring physicians to provide their signatures on requisitions for laboratory tests. Although the policy has been on the books since the beginning of 2011, CMS has never enforced it. The agency instead postponed enforcement to April 1, citing a lack of awareness in the healthcare industry about the new policy.

In the meantime, the American Medical Association (AMA) and other medical groups called for permanent abolition of the signature rule, warning that it would create paperwork headaches for medical professionals and ultimately would adversely affect patient care.

On hearing of the agency's about-face on the signature rule, AMA President Cecil B Wilson, MD, said, "CMS' decision to reverse this policy will allow physicians to spend less time on paperwork and more time on patient care. This decision is an important step as the administration works to ease regulatory burdens for businesses, including physician practices."

Fiegl C. Physicians to get relief from Medicare lab paperwork rule. American Medical News. Web site. February 28, 2011. http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/02/28/gvl10228.htm. Accessed March 31, 2011.