The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its final Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) rule for calendar year (CY) 2020.  In addition to updating rates for physician services, the final rule revises numerous other Medicare Part B policies.  Highlights of the final rule include the following: 

  • The final 2020 conversion factor is

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its proposed Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) rule for calendar year (CY) 2020.  In addition to updating rates for physician services, CMS proposes changes to numerous other Medicare Part B policies.  Highlights of the proposed rule include the following:

  • The proposed 2020 conversion factor (CF)

In a transmittal issued last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended newly-revised supervision rules for certain diagnostic tests paid via the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) to services paid under the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) for hospital outpatient departments. The transmittal relates to services performed by a registered radiologist assistant

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its final Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) rule for calendar year (CY) 2019.  In addition to updating rates for physician services, the rule adopts changes to numerous other Medicare Part B policies.  Highlights of the final rule include the following:

  • The final 2019 conversion factor (CF) is $36.0391, up slightly from the 2018 CF of $35.9996.  This rate is based on a statutory update of 0.25%, offset by a -0.14% relative value unit (RVU) budget neutrality adjustment.
  • The rule reduces from 6% to 3% the “add-on” payment for new, separately-payable Part B drugs and biologicals that are paid based on wholesale acquisition cost when average sales price during first quarter of sales is unavailable.
  • The rule makes a number of changes to the Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) program, which requires that physicians who order outpatient advanced diagnostic imaging (ADI) services (diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and positron emission tomography/nuclear medicine) for a Medicare beneficiary consult with AUC developed by provider-led organizations approved by CMS via a qualified clinical decision support mechanism (CDSM).  Specifically, the final rule:
    • Extends the requirements to independent diagnostic testing facilities (joining physician offices, hospital outpatient departments, and ambulatory surgical centers).
    • Clarifies that AUC consultation information must be reported on all applicable technical component and professional component claims (i.e., not just reported on claims by furnishing facilities).
    • Provides that when delegated by the ordering professional, clinical staff under the direction of the ordering professional may perform the AUC consultation with a qualified CDSM (a modification to the proposed rule, which would have specified that AUC consultations may be performed by auxiliary personnel under the direction of the ordering professional and incident to the ordering professional’s services).
    • Uses established coding methods (e.g., G-codes and modifiers) to report required information.
    • Revises the significant hardship exception criteria to include (1) insufficient internet access; (2) electronic health record or CDSM vendor issues; (3) extreme and uncontrollable circumstances; and (4) self-attestation of hardship status for ordering professionals.

For information regarding the AUC implementation schedule, see our previous post.
Continue Reading CMS Publishes Final CY 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rates and Policies

CMS is inviting stakeholders to participate an August 22, 2019 listening session on the CY 2019 proposed Medicare physician fee schedule rule.  The call will focus on three aspects of the proposed rule:

  • Streamlining Evaluation and Management (E/M) payment policies
  • Advancing virtual care
  • Changes to the Quality Payment Program intended to reduce clinician burden,

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its proposed Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) rule for calendar year (CY) 2019.  In addition to updating rates for physician services, the sweeping rule proposes changes to numerous other Medicare Part B policies.  Highlights of the proposed rule include the following:

  • CMS proposes a

Delays AUC Requirement until 2020, Cuts Off-Campus Hospital Department Payments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its final Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) rule for CY 2018. In addition to updating rates for 2018, the rule includes important policy changes, including an additional delay in implementation of appropriate use criteria (AUC) for advanced diagnostic imaging services and another reimbursement cut for off-campus hospital outpatient departments (although not as deep as proposed).  Highlights of the final rule include the following:
Continue Reading CMS Finalizes Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Update for 2018

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing several CMS rules that would finalize CY 2018 Medicare payment policies for various types of providers and suppliers. Specifically, OMB is reviewing final rules to update the hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical center PPS; the Medicare physician fee schedule and physician Quality Payment Program;

Rule Would Delay Appropriate Use Criteria Requirement until 2019, Cut Rates for Off-Campus Hospital Departments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its proposed rule to update the Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) for calendar year (CY) 2018. The proposed rule addresses numerous Medicare policies, including:  implementation of appropriate use criteria (AUC) for advanced diagnostic imaging services; a deep reduction in reimbursement for off-campus hospital outpatient departments; and consideration of potentially misvalued codes, among many others.  Highlights of the proposed rule include the following: 

  • Under the proposed rule, the 2018 MPFS conversion factor (CF) would be $35.9903, up slightly from the 2017 CF of $35.8887. This update reflects a 0.5% update factor specified under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which is partially offset by a -0.03% relative value unit (RVU) budget neutrality adjustment and a -0.19% “target recapture amount” (since savings from proposed revisions to the RVUs of misvalued codes would not meet a statutory-0.5% target).
  • CMS proposes to revise a policy adopted in the final 2017 Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) rule to implement Section 603 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which establishes a site-neutral payment policy for certain newly-acquired, provider-based, off-campus hospital outpatient departments (which CMS calls “off-campus provider-based departments” or “off-campus PBDs”). Effective for services provided on or after January 1, 2017, off-campus PBDs are paid under the PFS in most cases, rather than the generally higher-paying OPPS (with certain exceptions). In the 2017 rule, CMS established new PFS site-of-service payment rates to pay non-excepted off-campus PBDs for the technical component of non-excepted services; these rates generally are based on OPPS payments scaled downward by 50% (called the PFS Relativity Adjuster). For CY 2018, CMS is proposing to reduce the Relativity Adjuster by 50%; that is, the technical component rates for these services would be reduced from 50% of the OPPS rate to 25% of the OPPS rate. CMS invites comments on whether a different PFS Relatively Adjuster would be appropriate.


Continue Reading CMS Proposes Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Update for 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its final Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) for calendar year (CY) 2017.  In addition to updating MPFS rates and policies, the final rule makes numerous other Medicare policy changes, including updates to Stark Law regulations related to unit-based compensation and new enrollment requirements for providers and suppliers furnishing services to Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollees.  Highlights of the rule include the following:

Continue Reading CMS Publishes Final Rule Updating 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rates and Policies

Temporary Transition Policies Reduce Threat of Negative Adjustments in 2019, But Adds to Complexity

On November 4, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is publishing a sweeping final rule reforming the Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) update framework, as mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). 

In a recent blog post, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt announced CMS’s plans to give physicians more options for complying with significant upcoming changes to Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) rules – which will help physicians avoid triggering a negative payment adjustment in the first year of the program.

As previously reported, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) repealed the longstanding sustainable growth rate methodology for updating the MPFS.  Instead, MACRA established a period of stable MPFS annual updates, after which MPFS updates will be made pursuant to either a new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or based on participation in qualified Alternative Payment Models (APMs).  CMS published a proposed rule in May 2016 to implement the MIPS and APM reforms, which together CMS calls the “Quality Payment Program.”  The first reporting period for the Quality Payment Program begins on January 1, 2017, and it will impact physician payment in 2019.
Continue Reading CMS Announces Flexibility for Physician First-Year Participation in MACRA Quality Payment Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its proposed rule to update the Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) for calendar year (CY) 2017. The proposed rule contains numerous Medicare payment and policy proposals, including consideration of potentially misvalued codes, revisions to diagnostic imaging policies, updates to Stark Law regulations, and new enrollment requirements for providers and suppliers furnishing services to Medicare Advantage enrollees. Highlights of the sweeping rule include the following:
Continue Reading CMS Proposes Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Update for 2017

CMS has published corrections to its November 16, 2015 Medicare physician fee schedule final rule with comment period for 2016, applicable beginning January 1, 2016. Among other things, CMS is correcting an omission of language restating the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) requirements that apply to groups of 100 or more eligible

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed regulations to implement major reforms of the Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) update framework that were mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).  As discussed in our client alert, MACRA repealed the longstanding sustainable growth rate (SGR) methodology for updating the MPFS. Instead, MACRA established a period of stable MPFS annual updates, after which MPFS updates will be made pursuant to either a new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or based on participation in qualified Alternative Payment Models (APMs). CMS’s proposed rule to implement the MIPS and APM reforms, which together CMS calls the “Quality Payment Program,” is lengthy (the advance version is almost 1000 pages) and very complex. The following is an overview of the major provisions of the rule.
Continue Reading CMS Proposes Implementation of MACRA Physician Payment Reforms

On December 28, 2015, President Obama signed into law S. 2425, the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, which includes a number of Medicare provisions that were not included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Most significantly, the law:

  • Extends the timeframe for eligible professionals and hospitals to apply for a hardship exception from meaningful

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2015, which includes a wide range of government spending and tax provisions. As previously reported, the Act includes the following Medicare and Medicaid provisions:
Continue Reading President Obama Signs Spending/Tax Deal with Medicare and ACA Provisions

Today the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the final rule to update the Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) for calendar year (CY) 2016. Despite the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) establishing a 0.5% conversion factor (CF) update for 2016, the final 2016 CF of $35.8279 actually is a decrease compared to the 2015 CF of $35.9335. This is because CMS has more than offset the 0.5% MACRA update with a -0.02% budget neutrality adjustment in addition to a -0.77% “target recapture amount” to reach a statutory target for savings achieved from misvalued code adjustments (discussed below). Final rates and policies are effective January 1, 2016, with certain exceptions. CMS is accepting comments until December 29, 2015 on a limited number of provisions of the rule (e.g., interim final work, practice expense, and malpractice RVUs; interim final new, revised, potentially misvalued HCPCS codes; and changes to the physician self-referral list of codes). The sweeping rule includes numerous policy provisions, including the following:
Continue Reading CMS Finalizes Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rates, Policies for 2016