Sorry for the caps; this is actually how healthcare providers get messages from Medicare. I added punctuation to make it easier to read:
DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT OF 2005 - NINE DAY PAYMENT HOLD: THIS MESSAGE IS A REMINDER FOR ALL PROVIDERS AND PHYSICIANS WHO BILL MEDICARE CONTRACTORS FOR THEIR SERVICES. A BRIEF HOLD WILL BE PLACED ON MEDICARE PAYMENTS FOR ALL CLAIMS DURING THE LAST 9 DAYS OF THE FEDERAL FISCAL YEAR (SEPTEMBER 22 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2006). THESE PAYMENT DELAYS ARE MANDATED BY SECTION 5203 OF THE DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT OF 2005. NO INTEREST WILL BE ACCRUED AND NO LATE PENALTIES WILL BE PAID TO AN ENTITY OR INDIVIDUAL BY REASON OF THIS ONE-TIME HOLD ON PAYMENTS. ALL CLAIMS HELD DURING THIS TIME WILL BE PAID ON OCTOBER 2, 2006. THIS POLICY ONLY APPLIES TO CLAIMS SUBJECT TO PAYMENT... PLEASE NOTE THAT PAYMENTS WILL NOT BE STAGGERED AND NO ADVANCE PAYMENTS WILL BE ALLOWED DURING THIS 9-DAY HOLD.Translation: We, the Federal Government, are going to reduce the deficit which gets reported at the end of this fiscal year, by not paying 9 days worth of our debts to you, the hard-working hospitals, health centers, home healthcare associations, hospices and nursing homes of America. We'll pay you after the start of the new fiscal year, when it's easier for us to hide the deficit.
Keep in mind that for a large hospital, this delay might mean $500,000 to $1,000,000 a day in revenue. And it just doesn't work for a hospital to say to its staff and suppliers that it will pay them 9 days late in September of this year. So, you won't see it, but every healthcare provider in America will be scrambling to make ends meet for nine days this September.
Heck of a job, Congress! Heck of a job, Dubya!