CMS Issues Proposed 2018 Physician Fee Schedule

PUBLISHED: Jul 21, 2017
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Critical Access Hospitals, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Medical Office

On July 13, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that includes proposals to update payment policies, payment rates, and quality provisions for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) on or after January 1, 2018.

Payment is made under the PFS for services furnished by physicians and other practitioners in all sites of service. These services include, but are not limited to, visits, surgical procedures, diagnostic tests, therapy services, and specified preventive services.

In addition to physicians, payment is made under the PFS to a variety of practitioners and entities, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physical therapists, as well as radiation therapy centers and independent diagnostic testing facilities.

Payments are based on the relative resources typically used to furnish the service. Relative Value Units (RVUs) are applied to each service for physician work, practice expense, and malpractice. These RVUs become payment rates through the application of a conversion factor. Payment rates are calculated to include an overall payment update specified by statute.

The proposed rule includes updated physician payment rates, as well as:

  • A proposal to pay for new telehealth services, (including psychotherapy for crisis, Health Risk Assessments and care planning for chronic care management).
  • A delay until January. 1, 2019, the appropriate use criteria program for advanced diagnostic imaging services
  • Establishes payment to rural health clinics and federally qualified health clinics for regular and complex chronic care management services, general behavioral health integration services and psychiatric collaborative care model services.

The proposed final rule will be published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2017.

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