CMS Proposes Physician Medicare Payment Cuts in 2024

On the afternoon of July 13th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its calendar year 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). Yet again, CMS has proposed cutting payments to physicians who treat Medicare patients. If finalized as proposed and without Congressional intervention, the MPFS conversion factor would decrease by almost 3.4%. This is due to two different factors: (1) CMS is proposing a 2.17% reduction to the conversion factor as a “budget neutrality adjustment” to pay for policies it proposes elsewhere in the rule; and (2) Congress provided a 2.5% boost to the conversion factor in 2023 that is being reduced to 1.25% on January 1, 2024.

In addition to the general payment update, CMS also announced its intention to delay the previously finalized 2024 policy for split (or shared) evaluation and management (E/M) services. On January 1, 2024, CMS had intended to put in place a policy for E/M services furnished by both a physician and a non-physician practitioner (NPP) that would have mandated that the billing practitioner must be the one of the two who spent “more than half of the total time” associated with the visit. In response to stakeholder pushback, CMS is proposing to delay implementation “through at least December 31, 2024” and maintain its current policy that would allow for the billing practitioner to be either the practitioner who performs “one of the three key components (history, exam, or MDM)” or the practitioner who spends “more than half of the total time.”

ASBrS will continue to analyze the proposed rule as well as continue its advocacy in Congress to stop these unwarranted reimbursement cuts. We will also submit comments on the proposed rule by the deadline of September 11, 2023.

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