CMS’ Final Physician Fee Schedule Rule Has Health IT Implications

rulesOn Friday, the Obama administration issued its final rule for the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule that includes several health IT provisions, Politico‘s “Morning eHealth” reports (Pittman et al., “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 7/10).

In July, CMS released a proposed rule with several health IT implications, including requirements for electronic health records, physician quality reporting and telehealth (iHealthBeat, 7/10).

Details of Health IT Provisions

Under the final rule, federally qualified health centers and rural clinics will be required to use certified EHR technology to receive reimbursements for treating patients with at least two chronic conditions (“Morning eHealth,” Politico, 7/10).

In addition, CMS added new telemedicine codes that will take effect in 2016:

  • 99356 and 99357 for prolonged inpatient or observation care; and
  • 90963 through 90966 for services related to home dialysis for patients with end-stage renal disease.

Under the final rule, CMS also adds certified registered nurse anesthetists to Medicare’s list of qualified telehealth providers for health care services (CMS final rule, 10/30).

However, CMS noted that a patient’s home will not be considered an “originating site” and that such care must be provided at a health care facility (“Morning eHealth,” Politico, 11/2).

Meanwhile, CMS said it plans to continue to expand data publicly available on its Physician Compare website. CMS also reiterated its commitment to “moving to a star rating system on Physician Compare” (CMS final rule, 10/30). However, CMS said it will not publish 2014 EHR data to its Physician Compare website, citing “inaccuracies, specifically given the number of errors in the (electronic Clinical Quality Measure) submission data” (“Morning eHealth,” Politico, 11/2).

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