Proposed Policy, Payment, and Quality Provisions Changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for Calendar Year 2018
On July 13, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that includes proposals to update payment policies, payment rates, and quality provisions for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) on or after January 1, 2018.
The calendar year (CY) 2018 PFS proposed rule is one of several proposed rules that reflect a broader Administration-wide strategy to create a healthcare system that results in better accessibility, quality, affordability, empowerment, and innovation.
Background on the Physician Fee Schedule
Payment is made under the PFS for services furnished by physicians and other practitioners in all sites of service. These services include, but are not limited to, visits, surgical procedures, diagnostic tests, therapy services, and specified preventive services.
In addition to physicians, payment is made under the PFS to a variety of practitioners and entities, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physical therapists, as well as radiation therapy centers and independent diagnostic testing facilities.
Payments are based on the relative resources typically used to furnish the service. Relative Value Units (RVUs) are applied to each service for physician work, practice expense, and malpractice. These RVUs become payment rates through the application of a conversion factor. Payment rates are calculated to include an overall payment update specified by statute.