Extension of the PHE & Implementation of Medicare Payment Changes in Consolidated Appropriations Act

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From the AMA

HHS Secretary Azar has extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration effective Jan. 21, 2021 for an additional 90 days. This means that all of the telehealth and other waivers and flexibilities that have been implemented during the PHE will remain in effect until at least April 21, 2021.

In addition, as indicated in the summary and impact table distributed earlier this week, the Consolidated Appropriations Act that was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020, included provisions that offset most of the 10.2% budget neutrality adjustment that had been slated to take effect for Medicare-covered services provided as of Jan. 1, 2021. CMS has now confirmed that it is implementing the following provisions of this legislation and that there will be no delay in claims processing for 2021 services; that is, claims will be paid on time at the correct 2021 rates that reflect this legislation.

Message from CMS:

On December 27, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 modified the Calendar Year (CY) 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS):
• Provided a 3.75% increase in MPFS payments for CY 2021
• Suspended the 2% payment adjustment (sequestration) through March 31, 2021
• Reinstated the 1.0 floor on the work Geographic Practice Cost Index through CY 2023
• Delayed implementation of the inherent complexity add-on code for evaluation and management services (G2211) until CY 2024

CMS has recalculated the MPFS payment rates and conversion factor to reflect these changes. The revised MPFS conversion factor for CY 2021 is 34.8931. The revised payment rates are available in the Downloads section of the CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule final rule (CMS-1734-F) webpage.