CMS makes outpatient facility policy and payment changes

CMS: Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today released a final calendar year (CY) 2014 hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical center (ASC) payment rule [CMS-1601-FC] that will give hospitals and ASCs new flexibility to lower outpatient facility costs and strengthen the long-term financial stability of Medicare.  In addition, CMS will replace the current five levels of hospital clinic visit codes for both new and established patients with a single code describing all outpatient clinic visits.  A single code and payment for clinic visits is more administratively simple for hospitals and better reflects hospital resources involved in supporting an outpatient visit.  The current five levels of outpatient visit codes are designed to distinguish differences in physician work.

Provisions in the final Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) rule encourage more efficient delivery of outpatient facility services by packaging the payment for multiple supporting items and services into a single payment for a primary service similar to the way Medicare pays for hospital inpatient care. Supporting items and services that will be included in a single payment for a primary service to the hospital and not paid separately include drugs, biologicals, and radiopharmaceuticals that function as supplies when used in a diagnostic test or procedure; drugs and biologicals that function as supplies when used in a surgical procedure, including skin substitutes; certain clinical diagnostic laboratory services; certain procedures that are never done without a primary procedure (add-ons); and device removal procedures. Read More