On November 15, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule. The rule finalizes Medicare payment and policies for services effective January 1, 2017. CMS made a number of changes to the proposed policies based on feedback AAPM&R submitted in September. Notably, CMS elected not to require a resurvey of a number of codes billed by physiatrists including trigger point injections, arthrocentesis, and osteopathic manipulations. CMS continues to expand payment for primary care services including a number of services physiatrists provide. A new code, G0505 was established in the rule to reimburse for assessment and care planning for patients with cognitive impairments. Finally, CMS elected not to assign reimbursement to its new add-on code for services provided to patients with mobility-related disabilities. The code is considered bundled for 2017 and CMS is not requiring providers to bill it. AAPM&R supports the concept of more fairly reimbursing for the additional work and practice expense of treating patients with disabilities, but we objected to CMS’ proposal because it would impose a higher payment on the part of patients with disabilities.
Your Academy will continue to work with CMS on this and other issues related to physician payment throughout 2017. A more detailed report of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule will be included in the February issue of The Physiatrist.