Tag Archives: Radiology

CMS Proposes Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Update for 2017

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 … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Update to Medicare OPPS, ASC Rates and Policies for 2017

CMS has published its proposed rule to update the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System rates and policies for CY 2017. CMS proposes a 1.55% OPPS update, reflecting a 2.8% market basket increase, which is partly offset by a -0.5% multifactor productivity (MFP) adjustment and an … Continue Reading

Congressional Leaders Announce Spending/Tax Deal with Medicare and ACA Provisions; House Approves Tax Package

On December 15, 2015, Congressional leaders released sweeping spending and tax proposals, including a number of provisions impacting Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislation is being considered on a fast track; the House approved the tax component of the package today, and it is scheduled to vote on the appropriations bill tomorrow, with … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rates, Policies for 2016

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 … Continue Reading

GAO Assesses Considerations for Expansion of the Medicare Appropriate Use Criteria Program

On September 30, 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled “Medicare: Considerations for Expansion of the Appropriate Use Criteria Program.”  In addition to describing CMS’s plans for implementing the imaging Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) program, the GAO provides examples of non-imaging services deemed “questionable- or low-value” by researchers and for which provider-led … Continue Reading

Proposed CY 2016 MPFS Rule Takes First Steps in Implementing MACRA Reforms

On July 15, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published its proposed rule to update the Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) for CY 2016 – the first rulemaking since the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) repealed the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.  Under the proposed rule, the 2016 … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes $43 Million CY 2016 Medicare OPPS Rate Cut; Small Increase in ASC Payments

On July 8, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published its proposed rule to update the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System rates and policies for calendar year (CY) 2016.  Perhaps most notably, CMS is proposing a -0.1% OPPS update for 2016, driven … Continue Reading

House Energy and Commerce Committee Unanimously Approves 21st Century Cures Bill

Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 6, the “21st Century Cures Act,” by a bipartisan, unanimous 51-0 vote. This major legislation is intended to accelerate the pace of medical cures in the United States through a variety of reforms addressing drug and device development and approval, clinical trial design, research funding, interoperability … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Releases FY 2016 Budget Proposal with Medicare/Medicaid Provisions

On February 2, 2015, the Obama Administration released its proposed federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The budget would impact all types of health care providers, health plans, and drug manufacturers if adopted as proposed – which is unlikely given Republican control of the House and Senate. Nevertheless, Congress can be expected to consider … Continue Reading

GAO Assesses Trends in Medicare Physical Therapy Self-Referrals

The GAO recently examined “self-referral” for outpatient physical therapy (PT) services, which the GAO defines as a provider referring patients to entities in which the provider or the provider’s family members have a financial interest. According to the GAO, non-self-referred PT services per 1,000 Medicare FFS beneficiaries increased by 41% from 2004 to 2010, while the … Continue Reading

CMS Adopts Final Rule to Reduce Provider Regulatory Burdens

On May 12, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule that reforms federal health policy regulations that CMS has identified as unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome on health care providers and suppliers. The rule also is intended to eliminate or reduce requirements that impede quality patient care or that … Continue Reading

CMS Streamlines Medicare Requirements for Imaging Services Performed in ASCs and Hospital Radiopharmaceutical Preparation

This post was written by Paul Pitts and Thomas Greeson. CMS has put on display a final rule that reforms Medicare regulations that CMS has identified as unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome on health care providers and suppliers. Two provisions address imaging services offered in ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) and hospitals. Supervision of Radiology Services in ASCs … Continue Reading

GAO Examines Impact of Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation on Medicare Beneficiary Access

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued its second statutorily-mandated report regarding implementation of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) accreditation requirement for Medicare suppliers that furnish the technical component of advanced diagnostic imaging (ADI) services. The first report assessed CMS’s standards for ADI accreditation and the agency’s oversight of … Continue Reading

California Weighs Further Curtailment of Physician Self-Referrals

This post was written by Paul Pitts. California State Senator Ed Hernandez, O.D., Chair of the Senate Health Committee, has introduced legislation that would close an exception in state law that currently permits physicians to provide advanced imaging, anatomic pathology, radiation therapy, and physical therapy within their office or the office of their group practice.  … Continue Reading

CMS Releases Physician-Specific Medicare Charge/Payment Data

CMS has released its highly-anticipated data files with Medicare payment data for individual Medicare physicians and certain other Part B suppliers as part of the Obama Administration’s initiative “to make our healthcare system more transparent, affordable, and accountable.” Specifically, the “Physician and Other Supplier Public Use File” contains information on utilization, payment (allowed amount and Medicare … Continue Reading

President Signs Medicare Physician Fee Schedule/SGR Patch with Numerous Health Policy Provisions

On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law H.R. 4302, the "Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014" ("the Act"). The Act includes a one-year Medicare physician fee schedule fix that averts a nearly 24 percent payment cut set for April 1, 2014, but which falls far short of earlier hopes for full repeal of the current sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. The Act also includes numerous other Medicare payment and policy changes, including skilled nursing facility value-based purchasing provisions, reforms to the physician fee schedule relative valuation process, a new framework for clinical laboratory payments, a variety of changes impacting imaging services, changes in the exceptions for long term care hospitals, and extension of certain expiring provisions. In other areas, the bill includes a one-year delay in the transition to ICD-10, changes to the timetable for Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts, and "front-loading" of the 2024 Medicare sequestration reduction.… Continue Reading

Obama Administration Proposes FY 2015 Budget with Medicare, Medicaid Savings Provisions

On March 4, 2014, the Obama Administration released its proposed federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Virtually all types of health care providers, health plans, and drug manufacturers would be impacted by the budget provisions if adopted as proposed – an unlikely scenario given the Republican House leadership’s reaction to the document. Nevertheless, the … Continue Reading

CMS Invites Suggestions for Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Quality/Safety Regulations

CMS is inviting public comments on potential future regulations intended to improve the safety and quality of services furnished by Advanced Diagnostic Imaging (ADI) suppliers. ADI services include computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and nuclear medicine services. Specifically, CMS seeks suggestions on potential improvements pertaining to personnel qualifications, infection control practices, quality improvement programs, image … Continue Reading

Bipartisan/Bicameral SGR Reform Bill Released; Offsets Not Yet Identified

The bipartisan leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Ways & Means Committee, and Senate Finance Committee have released a consensus Medicare physician fee schedule reform bill expected to be considered by Congress before the latest temporary payment patch expires at the end of March. Highlights of H.R. 4015, the SGR Repeal and Medicare … Continue Reading

Advisory Panel Recommends Access Standards for Medical Diagnostic Equipment

The Access Board’s Medical Diagnostic Equipment Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee has issued its final report on “Advancing Equal Access to Diagnostic Services: Recommendations on Standards for the Design of Medical Diagnostic Equipment for Adults with Disabilities.” The report includes detailed recommendations on standards for access to equipment such as examination tables and chairs, weight scales, … Continue Reading

CMS “Phase 2” Ordering/Referral Denial Edits to Go Live on Jan. 6, 2014

Despite continuing provider concerns, CMS has announced that it will direct Medicare administrative contractors (MACs) to activate controversial “phase 2” ordering/referral edits effective January 6, 2014. Once activated, MACs will deny claims for Medicare Part B services (including lab services and the technical component of imaging services), durable medical equipment, and Part A home health … Continue Reading

CMS Seeks Input on Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Program

CMS is requesting public suggestions on potential improvements to the Advanced Diagnostic Imaging (ADI) program, an accreditation program mandated by the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) that applies to suppliers that furnish the technical component of advanced diagnostic imaging services such as diagnostic MRI, CT, and nuclear medicine (including PET), … Continue Reading
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