CMS has announced several proposals that will make dramatic revisions in physician payments, Consultation codes will be eliminated and the monies shifted to the E/M codes; imaging, physician provided drugs and other changes are in the works.
The big news:
In another positive move,
Taken together, refining the practice expenses, eliminating payment for the consultation codes and revising the treatment of malpractice premiums would increase payments to general practitioners, family physicians, internists, and geriatric specialists by between 6 and 8 percent (before taking into account the proposed update and other proposed changes to the fee schedule). The update is the overhanging problem, of course, but is a distinct issue from the differing fees for office visits and consultation visits.
The proposed rule would also implement provisions in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) that added new Medicare benefit categories for cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services, and for chronic kidney disease (CKD) education, beginning January 1, 2010.
The proposed rule contains a number of provisions to promote improvement in quality of care and patient outcomes through revisions to the Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program (e-Prescribing Program) and the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). Eligible professionals or group practices that meet the requirements of each program in CY 2010 will be eligible for incentive payments for each program equal to 2.0 percent of their total estimated allowed charges for the reporting periods.
For more information on the proposed rule, please see:
A Fact Sheet providing more information about the e-Prescribing Program and PQRI proposals can be found at: