Both houses of Congress yesterday voted to override the presidential veto of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.

Garnering the requisite two-thirds majorities, the House overrode the veto by a margin of 383-41, and the Senate by 70-26.

The bill repeals the 10.6 percent physician payment cut called for by Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that went into effect on July 1 and a 5 percent cut set for Jan. 1, 2009. Instead, the legislation maintains a continuation of current rates for the rest of 2008 and a 1.1 percent update through 2009.

Also, the measure supports accreditation for providers of advanced diagnostic imaging services, such as MR, CT, PET, and nuclear medicine, in order to receive payment for the technical component of those services. Furthermore, the bill establishes a two-year voluntary demonstration program that will test the use of physician-developed Appropriateness Criteria.

To see how individual senators voted, click here