FEDERAL | Changes to the 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule - A Plastic Surgery Perspective
For 2017, many of the payment policies proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will have a direct impact on plastic surgeons' day-to-day operations. As discussed briefly above, for example, CMS announced in the Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule a unilateral decision to collect data about global surgery services.
As proposed, beginning Jan. 1, 2017, CMS expects surgeons providing 10- and 90-day global surgery services to Medicare patients to report whole new set of codes to document the type, level and number of pre- and post-operative visits furnished during the global period for every global surgery procedure provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Under this system, surgeons would be required to use new codes CMS creates (known as "G-codes") to report on each 10-minute increment of services provided.
CMS is also looking closely at trying to reduce fees paid to hospital outpatient departments. A major area of concern here is that CMS has proposed to redefine how payments for services furnished by certain off-campus departments of a hospital will be calculated. Among other issues, this proposal runs the risk of making any new outpatient centers economically unsustainable by drastically reducing their Medicare reimbursements.
ASPS is engaging with CMS and Congress to oppose any rule changes that could seriously disadvantage plastic surgeons. Unless public comment and/or congressional action prompts alterations to the draft language, the proposed changes are confirmed in a Final Rule, which is typically published in mid-November.