The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced an unprecedented new regulation endorsing Medicare payment for nurse anesthetists to diagnose and treat chronic pain if it is within their scope of practice at the state level. The new regulation was part of the 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule (CMS-1590-FC) that CMS issued on November 1. Despite vigorous opposition by the ASA, other medical organizations, patients, and Members of Congress, CMS will implement its expansive new payment policy effective January 1, 2013.
Immediately following the release of CMS’ final regulation, ASA issued a statement reaffirming its opposition to the new policy. See the ASA Statement here.
Though the final regulation effectively carries the force of law, as with any regulation, the rule can be rescinded by CMS through a future rulemaking process or through an act of Congress directing that the rule be rescinded. Toward that end, ASA is currently meeting with allies in Congress and other medical organizations to examine opportunities to reverse CMS’ ill-advised decision.
In the interim, ASA members are urged to contact their member(s) of Congress to express their strong opposition to CMS’ decision and ask the Congressional office to contact CMS to express concerns with the new regulation. Be mindful that many lawmakers and their staff are just returning to Washington, DC from the campaign trail and, as such, may not be familiar with the new regulation on chronic pain.
You can call and/or email your lawmaker’s office with your opposition to this policy today. For additional information please contact Manuel Bonilla in the ASA's Washington, DC office at 202-289-2222.