CMS Issues CY 2013 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule

July 6, 2012

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued a proposed rule that would increase payments to family physicians by approximately 7 percent and other practitioners providing primary care services between 3 and 5 percent.  The increase in payment to family practitioners is part of the proposed rule that would update payment policies and rates under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) for calendar year (CY) 2013.  Under the MPFS, Medicare pays more than 1 million physicians and nonphysician practitioners that provide vital health services to Medicare beneficiaries.

“Helping primary care doctors will help improve patient care and lower health care costs long term,” said CMS Acting Administrator, Marilyn B. Tavenner.

The 7 percent increase for family physicians comes from a proposal that continues the Administration’s policies to promote high quality, patient-centered care.  For CY 2013, CMS is proposing for the first time to explicitly pay for the care required to help a patient transition back to the community following a discharge from a hospital or nursing facility. The proposals calls for CMS to make a separate payment to a patient’s community physician or practitioner to coordinate the patient’s care in the 30 days following a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay.  The proposed rule also asks for public comment on how Medicare can better recognize the range of services community physicians and practitioners provide as part of treating patients either through face-to-face services in the office or coordinating care outside the office when the patient does not see the physician.

The proposed rule would also continue the careful implementation of the physician value-based payment modifier (Value Modifier) that was included inthe Affordable Care Act by providing choices to physicians regarding how to participate. 

The proposed rule continues efforts by CMS to align quality reporting across programs to reduce burden and complexity. The proposed rule proposes changes to two quality reporting programs that are associated with the MPFS – the PQRS and the Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program – as well as the Medicare Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Pilot Program which promotes the use of health information technology. 

The proposed rule also includes:                              

  • A proposal to include additional Medicare-covered preventive services on the list of services that can be provided via an interactive telecommunications system;
  • A proposal to implement a durable medical equipment (DME) face-to-face requirement as a condition of payment for certain high-cost Medicare DME items;
  • A proposal to apply a multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) policy to the technical component of the second and subsequent cardiovascular and ophthalmology diagnostic services furnished by the same doctor to the same patient on the same day;
  • A proposal to collect data on patient function to improve how Medicare pays for physical and occupational therapy, and speech language pathology services;
  • A request for public comments on payment for advanced diagnostic molecular pathology services;
  • A proposal to revise a regulation that only allows Medicare to pay for portable x-rays ordered by an MD or DO.  The revised regulations would allow Medicare to pay for portable x-ray services ordered physicians and non-physician practitioners acting within the scope of their Medicare benefit and state law;
  • A proposal to clarify when Medicare will pay for interventional pain management services provided by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) when permitted by State law.  This proposal will foster access to pain management services in areas where states have determined that CRNAs may provide these services.

The proposed rule will appear in the July 30, 2012 Federal Register.  CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until Sep. 04, 2012, and will respond to them in a final rule with comment period to be issued by Nov. 1, 2012.

For more information, see: 

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To read the entire CMS Press Release issued today  (7/6) click here: http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/press_releases.asp

And for additional CMS Fact Sheets issued today (7/6) click here:

http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp