CMS released the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule and it contains a few interesting updates. Read on to see highlights from the new physician fee schedule, MIPS quality measure changes, and some specific callouts on their impact to the specialty of anesthesiology.

  1. The 2019 physician conversion factor (CF) was minimally increased to $36.0391, up from $35.9996; along with anesthesia services up from $22.1887 to $22.2730.
  2. The introduction of payment for technology-based services.
    • CMS created a separate payment for specific virtual care scenarios. The trend towards consumerism in healthcare perhaps driving the need for more digital communication between providers and their patients.
      • HCPCS code G2012 Brief Communication Technology-based Service: for established patients to virtually check-in with their provider to deter an unnecessary office visit.
      • HCPCS code G2010 Remote evaluation of Pre-Recorded Patient Information: Patients who send in pictures, video, secure text message, email or patient portal communication to their provider for evaluation.
      • CPT codes 99446, 99447, 99448, 99449, 99451, 99452 Interprofessional Internet Consultation: For consultations between a treating provider and another physician or other healthcare professional.
  1. A reduction in the level of E/M documentation requirements for providers surrounding established patients.
    • Providers won’t have to reenter information that did not change or has already been added to the patient chart by other staff, in Evaluation and Management (E/M) situations. Now, the provider will be able to sign off on the medical record information as having been reviewed and verified.
    • Residents and other members of the medical team in an academic setting will receive a large reduction in documentation given that the final rule states duplicative efforts are not necessary.
  2. CMS finalized anesthesia MIPS quality measures to include:
    • Measure #44 Pre-operative Beta Blocker in Patients with Isolated CABG Surgery
    • Measure #76 Prevention of CVC related Bloodstream Infections
    • Measure #404 Anesthesiology Smoking Abstinence
    • Measure #424 Perioperative Temperature Management
    • Measure #430 Prevention of Post-operative Nausea and Vomiting (PONV Adult)
    • Measure #463 Prevention of Post-operative Nausea and Vomiting (PONV Pediatrics)
  • Anesthesia providers should take note that the following measures were eliminated beginning in the 2019 performance year:
    • Measure #426 Post-Anesthetic Transfer of Care Measure: Procedure Room to a Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)
    • Measure #427 Post-Anesthetic Transfer of Care: Use of Checklist or Protocol for Direct Transfer of Care from Procedure Room to Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

For more information you can read the Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule or visit the CMS Anesthesiologists Center for more information impacting anesthesia providers.


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