December's Payroll Tax Bill Alters Medicare Physician Payment Final Rule

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Because Congress and President Barack Obama passed the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 — which extended payroll tax reductions and averted a 27.4 percent Medicare payment cut to physicians until March 1, 2012 — the final rule on the Medicare physician fee schedule for the 2012 calendar year underwent minor revisions, according to a recent Medicare Learning Network Matters article (pdf).

There is an a zero percent increase on Medicare physician payments between Jan. 1 and March 1, but in order to make changes to the relative value units "budget neutral," CMS adjusted the conversion factor.

In Dec. 2011, the CY 2012 conversion factor was $33.9764. After factoring in the RVU budget neutrality adjustment, the conversion factor now stands at $34.0376. This conversion factor will be reflected in all MPFS payment files through Feb. 29.

The TPTCCA also extended the physician work geographic practice cost index, mental health service payment increases and exceptions process for outpatient therapy caps through Feb. 29.

Related Articles on Medicare Physician Fee Schedule:

9 Biggest Issues Surrounding the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate

CMS Releases Physician Fee Schedule, Includes 27.4% Cut to Physician Payments

CMS Issues Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule

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