September 11, 2017
ASA Critical of Proposed 2018 Code Values; Supportive of Payment Program Updates
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has responded to proposed policies and code valuation issues as put forward by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in a proposed rule for the 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule as published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2017.
In formal and comprehensive comments to CMS, ASA addressed several issues of significance to anesthesiology and provided explanation challenging CMS’s proposals to reduce the values of specific procedures and services performed by physician anesthesiologists including anesthesia for GI endoscopy and placement of central venous lines, arterial lines, and Swan Ganz catheters.
ASA strongly opposed a CMS initiative to recalculate the professional liability insurance (PLI) or malpractice component of the fee schedule, citing concerns about process and the data CMS proposed to use in making this adjustment. This recalculation would negatively impact the Medicare anesthesia conversion factor.
ASA found areas within the rule to support. ASA applauded CMS in exploring ways to pay physicians for insertion and removal of subdermal drug implants for the treatment of opioid addiction. As a specialty whose members are leaders in both acute and chronic pain medicine, ASA pursues every avenue to promote a multi-modal, systematic, and comprehensive approach to chronic pain control to help reduce opioid addiction and improve efforts to manage and treat it.
ASA was particularly pleased to support CMS’s proposal to ease reporting requirements for the 2018 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Value-Based Payment Modifier (VM) adjustments. ASA raised this issue in a meeting with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Dr. Tom Price and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma as part of our efforts to engage lawmakers and rulemakers on legislative and regulatory issues that affect physician anesthesiologists’ work, quality and patient safety. We were pleased CMS is proposing to modify its policies on these legacy quality programs so physician anesthesiologists receive proper payment and recognition for the high-quality, cost-effective care they provide to their patients.
Read the Proposed Rule here
Read the ASA Comment Letter here