Yell hallelujah, hell yeah or wahoo, whatever your chosen exclamation might be because Medicare just made your month! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have granted the wishes of everyone in the radiation oncology industry with their release of the final 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.
The decision not to remove the cost of the vault as a direct practice expense when calculating reimbursement rates for 2015 is a money saving (read: life saving) move for radiation oncologists. Additionally, CMS has decided to continue to pay for some of the eliminated treatment codes from 2014. They will do this by creating g-codes for those eliminated codes and continuing to reimburse physicians at the same, previous rate.
These two updates will result in a 0% reduction for radiation oncology providers, which is great news compared to the 8% reduction rate we were facing!
So who is to blame for those celebratory high-fives you’re all giving right about now? We can all give a huge thanks the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) as they led an advocacy campaign designed to keep the payment cuts CMS proposed in July from going through. Over 160 bipartisan members of Congress, along with several radiation oncology industry stakeholders, wrote letters to CMS discussing the impact of the reimbursement cuts, begging them to reconsider. Thankfully these efforts did not go without notice and the MPFS final rule states that CMS will be delaying its decision regarding these hot button issues for one more year.
In addition to this, CMS released their 2015 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) final rule, though this week they will be issuing the final rules, so stay tuned!