The 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is Finalized

David Harlow

Posted 11/7/11 on Health Blawg

CMS issued the final MPFS — the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2012 — this past week. The key feature of the rule, for many folks, is the Sustainable Growth Rate-(SGR)-mandated 27.4% cut in Medicare professional serivces reimbursements. We now get to watch the drama unfold over the next eight weeks, as the MedPAC proposal to replace the SGR is bandied about, and the machinations of the supercommittee tasked with brokering a budget fix either do or do not get us closer to a reasoned approach to doing more with less.  The MedPAC idea is to drop the RBRVS conversion factor for specialty care payments 5.9% per year for two years, then hold it steady for 8 years, while keeping the primary care conversion factor flat for 10 years.  The net effect: physician payments will “only” double over the next 10 years.  (One clever idea squirreled away in the MedPAC report is that savings in the Medicare Shared Savings Plan (ACO) should be measured against a baseline of what Medicare would have spent on the care absent the changes in the proposed SGR fix — i.e., a higher baseline, with greater potential savings.  Another 50 clever ideas like this and we’ll be talking about saving some real money.)

Continue reading “The 2012 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is Finalized”