In the waning days of the 1st Session of the 113th Congress, the House and Senate approved legislation postponing the SGR cut slated to take effect on January 1, 2014. This same legislation, The Pathway for SGR Reform Act of 2013, also temporarily extended various Medicare payment policies that were scheduled to expire at the end of 2013. Finally, in order to help pay for these changes, the Congress approved a 2-year extension of the 2% sequester related cut in Medicare payments that had originally been set to expire at the end of 2021.
In lieu of an SGR cut, Congress approved a 0.5% increase in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) conversion factor for 3 months (January, February and March).
After the legislation was signed into law by President Obama on December 26th, CMS announced it would revise the 2014 MPFS to reflect the new law’s requirements as well as technical corrections identified since publication of the final rule in late November.
CMS has announced that the 2014 conversion factor (CF) is $35.8228. However, should CMS announce a change in the CF based upon these “technical corrections” ADVOCATE will convey that information as quickly as possible.
The intent in adopting The Pathway for SGR Reform Act of 2013 is to allow Congress additional time to consider a permanent repeal of the SGR formula. While there appears to be an emerging consensus on what should replace the SGR, significant details still need to be worked out. In addition to resolving differences between the House and Senate Committee-passed repeal/replace legislation, the Congress must come up with a way to “pay for” a permanent fix.
As always, ADVOCATE will keep you updated as more details about the 2014 fee schedule and all issues impacting radiology become available.
Kirk Reinitz, CPA