On November 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that includes updates to payment policies, payment rates, and quality provisions for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) on or after January 1, 2018.
The overall update to payments under the PFS based on the finalized CY 2018 rates will be +0.41 percent. This update reflects the +0.50 percent update established under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, reduced by 0.09 percent, due to the misvalued code target recapture amount, required under the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014. After applying these adjustments, and the budget neutrality adjustment to account for changes in Relative Value Units, all required by law, the final 2018 PFS conversion factor is $35.99, an increase to the 2017 PFS conversion factor of $35.89.
The Final Rule Includes:
- Patients over Paperwork Initiative
- Changes in valuation for specific services
- Payment rates for nonexcepted off-campus provider-based hospital departments
- Medicare telehealth services
- Malpractice relative value units
- Care management services
- Improvement of payment rates for office-based behavioral health services
- Evaluation and management comment solicitation
- Emergency department visits comment solicitation
- Solicitation of public comments on initial data collection and reporting periods for Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule
- Part B drugs: Payment for biosimilar biological products
- Part B drug payment: Infusion drugs furnished through an item of durable medical equipment
- New care coordination services and payment for rural health clinics and federally-qualified health centers
- Appropriate use criteria for advanced diagnostic imaging
- Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program expanded model
- Physician Quality Reporting System
- Patient relationship codes
- Medicare Shared Savings Program
- 2018 Value Modifier.
Physicians and other healthcare organizations should review this new guidance as soon as possible and begin preparing for these changes which take affect at the first of the year.
About The Author
Recognized by her peers as a Martindale-Hubble “AV-Preeminent” (Top 1%) and “Top Rated Lawyer” with special recognition LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® as “LEGAL LEADER™ Texas Top Rated Lawyer” in Health Care Law and Labor and Employment Law; as among the “Best Lawyers In Dallas” for her work in the fields of “Labor & Employment,” “Tax: Erisa & Employee Benefits,” “Health Care” and “Business and Commercial Law” by D Magazine, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer is a practicing attorney board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and management consultant, author, public policy advocate and lecturer widely known for 30+ years of health industry and other management work, public policy leadership and advocacy, coaching, teachings, and publications. Ms. Stamer works with health industry and related businesses and their management, employee benefit plans, governments and other organizations deal with all aspects of human resources and workforce, internal controls and regulatory compliance, change management, disaster and other crisis preparedness and response, and other performance and operations management and compliance. Her experienced includes career long involvement in advising and defending health industry and other organizations about disaster and other crisis preparation, response and mitigation arising from natural and man-made disasters, government enforcement, financial distress, workplace emergencies and accidents, data breach and other cybersecurity and other events. For additional information about Ms. Stamer, see here, e-mail her here or telephone Ms. Stamer at (214) 452-8297.
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