November 07, 2006
ASA Working to Correct Technical Error in CMS Final Rule for 2007 Physician Fee Schedule
In efforts to address CMS’ egregious cuts to Medicare physician payments, ASA has carefully reviewed the CMS fee schedule rule. Through that process, ASA and others identified a mistake in the methodology used to calculate practice expense (PE) RVUs.
In the Final Rule for the 2007 Physician Fee Schedule, CMS specified that they would not use budget-neutralized work RVUs in the calculation of indirect practice expenses, but would instead use unadjusted work RVUs. However, CMS mistakenly computed the practice expense relative values with the adjusted work RVUs, resulting in slightly lower PE relative values for all physicians.
The AMA/Specialty Society RVS Update Committee (RUC) has submitted a request for correction to CMS. Since the method to calculate these values for anesthesia codes differs from that for the rest of the fee schedule, ASA is also working with the Agency to ensure that it recalculate the anesthesia conversion factor using the corrected values. We anticipate this to have a positive—albeit minimal—effect on the 13.7% Medicare payment cut anesthesiologists face beginning Jan. 1, 2007.
New information regarding this error will be posted as it becomes available.
In the meantime, every ASA member is strongly encouraged to contact their Representative and Senators asking for a positive payment update in 2007, as recommended by MedPAC. You may do so through the Capitol Switchboard, (202) 225-3121.