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The 2024 Physician Fee Schedule: Key Updates for Clinicians

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2024 Physician Fee Schedule

Are you up to date with the latest regulatory changes enforced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)? The updated 2024 Physician Fee Schedule will change the way clinicians bill for certain services, here’s what you need to know.

Understanding the 2024 Physician Fee Schedule Updates

In March 2024, the Consolidated Appropriations Act was enforced, which brought significant changes to the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Conversion Factor (CF) for calendar year 2024. The new law increased the CF by 2.93% for services provided between March 9th and December 31st, 2024, replacing the previous 1.25% adjustment introduced in 2023.

As a result, it is crucial to modify billing and coding procedures to ensure accurate reimbursement capture. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will publish updated payment files, including the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and associated abstract files, the Ambulatory Surgical Center Fee Schedule, and the Anesthesia file, to reflect these adjustments.

Key Updates

The 2024 PFS reflects CMS’s efforts to adjust payment rates for physician services and incorporate updates to various payment policies. Some of the key updates for clinicians include adjustments to:

  • Streamlined Evaluation and Management (E/M) Documentation: Revisions to E/M coding seek to reduce the administrative burden associated with patient visit documentation. This allows clinicians to dedicate more time to direct patient care while ensuring appropriate reimbursement for telephone E/M services (codes 99441-99443).
  • Expanded Telehealth Reimbursement: Recognizing the value of remote care delivery, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2024 PFS expands telehealth reimbursement opportunities. This includes the elimination of in-person requirements for diagnosing, evaluating, and treating mental health disorders via telehealth. Additionally, the removal of originating site restrictions provides greater flexibility regarding where patients can receive telehealth services. Furthermore, the elimination of telehealth frequency limitations for inpatient, nursing facility, and critical care consultation services fosters more comprehensive and continuous care delivery.
  • Stable Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Threshold: The decision to maintain the MIPS performance threshold at 75 points for the 2024 performance period ensures greater stability and predictability for clinician reimbursement under Medicare. This approach simplifies avoidance of potential negative payment adjustments in 2026.
  • Health Equity Incentives: In alignment with its pursuit of health equity advancement, CMS has solidified various coding and payment policies. These include reimbursement for caregiving services, integration of community health services (encompassing care provided by community health workers), principal illness navigation services, and evaluations addressing social determinants of health risks.

The Role of Value-Based Care Payment Contracts

The 2024 PFS likely reflects the shift towards value-based care (VBC) models within healthcare reimbursement. As clinicians increasingly participate in value-based care payment contracts, they are incentivized to deliver high-quality care efficiently.

By participating in VBC payment contracts, clinicians have the opportunity to improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and enhance overall care coordination. However, navigating the complexities of these contracts requires robust billing and revenue cycle management processes to ensure accurate reimbursement and compliance with contractual obligations.

Apex EDI: Helping You Navigate Change

Apex EDI serves as a vital partner for clinicians and healthcare organizations, offering comprehensive clearinghouse services to streamline the billing and reimbursement process in the era of VBC.

Apex EDI empowers clinicians to efficiently manage their revenue cycle, navigate complex reimbursement policies, and maximize reimbursement rates through its intuitive platform and advanced features. By leveraging Apex EDI’s clearinghouse services, clinicians can streamline administrative tasks, reduce billing errors, and focus on delivering high-quality patient care.

Takeaway

Staying informed about the updates to the 2024 PFS and embracing VBC payment contracts are crucial steps for clinicians to thrive in today’s healthcare environment. By partnering with Apex EDI, clinicians can streamline their billing processes, enhance revenue cycle efficiency, and focus on what matters most – providing exceptional patient care. With the right partners and a proactive mindset, clinicians can navigate these challenges confidently and continue to make a meaningful impact on the health and well-being of their patients.

It is important to note that these are the updates as of March 2024, further details regarding specific billing code adjustments and payment updates will be released by CMS soon.


Schedule a demo with Apex EDI to see how we can support your transition to a value-based care model or your existing medical billing needs.

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