In early July, CMS released proposed changes to Medicare physician payments for 2008. The new rule includes the following provisions:
- A payment cut of 9.9% to the physician fee schedule, based on the statutorily required sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula;
- Increases in relative value units (RVUs) for physician work at nursing facilities;
- Extension of the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) into 2008, including all of the performance measures from this year's program as well as new measures currently in development;
- Inclusion of neurobehavioral status exams as a telemedicine service eligible for Medicare payment;
- Increases in the value of the work component for anesthesia services;
- Required reporting of hemoglobin or hematocrit on claims for drugs used to treat anemia related to anticancer treatment;
- Modification of physician self-referral provisions;
- Modification of the requirements under the competitive acquisition program (CAP) for Part B drugs to verify that a physician-ordered drug has been administered;
- Modification of enrollment standards for Independent Diagnostic Testing Facilities (IDTFs); and
- Elimination of the fax exemption to electronic prescribing standards for Medicare Part D transactions.
CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until August 31, 2007, and a final rule, effective for services on or after Jan. 1, 2008, will be published in the fall. For more information, visit cms.hhs.gov and click on Physician Center.
In an article in the July issue (“Learning the laws on complicated care,” page 13), Erin A. Egan's affiliation was listed incorrectly. At the time of her presentation at Hospital Medicine 2007, Dr. Egan was affiliated with Loyola University, not the University of Chicago. Dr. Egan is now affiliated with the University of Colorado at Denver.