Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule Affects Telehealth, Vaccines, More

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule for calendar year 2022, which includes updates to Medicare payments under the schedule and other Medicare Part B issues effective Jan. 1. Provisions of the rule will:

  • Reduce the conversion factor by $1.31, from $34.89 to $33.58, to accommodate budget neutrality with changes in relative value units and the expiration of the 3.75% payment increase provided in the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
  • Extend eligible telehealth services that were added to the Medicare telehealth services list during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) through Dec. 31, 2023. This will allow for more time for stakeholders to gather data and submit support for requesting that services be permanently added to the Medicare telehealth services list.
  • Implement an in-person visit requirement at least every 12 months to qualify for telehealth service payment.
  • Include audio-only communications technology when used for telehealth services for the diagnosis, evaluation or treatment of mental health disorders furnished to established patients in their homes under certain circumstances.
  • Delay the start date for compliance actions related to electronic prescribing of controlled substances to Jan. 1, 2023, and delay the compliance start date for Part D prescriptions written for beneficiaries in long-term care facilities to Jan. 1, 2025.
  • Delay the penalty phase of the appropriate use criteria program to Jan. 1, 2023, or the Jan. 1 that follows the declared end of the COVID-19 PHE, whichever comes later.
  • Pay $30 per dose for the administration of the influenza, pneumococcal and hepatitis B virus vaccines, and maintain the current payment rate of $40 per dose for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, make the additional payment of $35.50 for COVID-19 vaccine administration in the home through the end of the calendar year in which the ongoing PHE ends.
  • Define and clarify policies for split (or shared) evaluation and management visits, which can be billed by the physician or practitioner who provides the substantive portion of the visit.
  • Allow physician assistants (PAs) to bill Medicare directly for their professional services, reassign payment for their professional services, and incorporate with other PAs and bill Medicare for PA services.
  • Delay the increase in the quality performance standard Accountable Core Organizations must meet to be eligible to share in savings until program year 2024.

Members with questions should contact Renée Smiddy at the MHA.