Source: American Academy of Family Physicians Washington, DC, Office
On November 2, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2017 final Medicare physician fee schedule. This regulation addresses changes to the physician fee schedule (PFS) and other Medicare Part B payment policies to ensure that Medicare payment systems are updated to reflect changes in medical practice and the relative value of services. This regulation is effective on Sunday, January 1, 2017. As part of this release, CMS also posted a press statement specific to the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) Expanded Model, and a blog by the CMS acting administrator titled, “A Healthier Medicare: Focusing on Primary Care, Mental Health, and Diabetes Prevention.”
- Commended the creation of new primary care codes.
- Strongly supported the expansion of the MDPP.
- Expressed disappointment that CMS only finalized mis-valued code changes that achieve 0.32% in net expenditure reductions. Since these changes do not fully meet the mis-valued code target required by law, physicians will not receive the MACRA positive 0.5% update in 2017. The 2017 Medicare PFS conversion factor will be $35.89, an increase of only $0.09 from the 2016 conversion factor. The AAFP statement called this a violation of the spirit of MACRA.
- Expressed increasing concerns that CMS is adding regulatory burdens to primary care physicians. For instance, CMS is requiring primary care physicians to consult appropriate use criteria for advanced diagnostic imaging and not aligning this program with the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).
View the AAFP’s summary of the 2017 final Medicare PFS.