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Fed Regist. 2004 Nov 15;69(219):66235-915.

Medicare program; revisions to payment policies under the physician fee schedule for calendar year 2005. Final rule with comment period.

Abstract

This final rule refines the resource-based practice expense relative value units (RVUs) and makes other changes to Medicare Part B payment policy. These policy changes concern: supplemental survey data for practice expense; updated geographic practice cost indices for physician work and practice expense; updated malpractice RVUs; revised requirements for supervision of therapy assistants; revised payment rules for low osmolar contrast media; changes to payment policies for physicians and practitioners managing dialysis patients; clarification of care plan oversight requirements; revised requirements for supervision of diagnostic psychological testing services; clarifications to the policies affecting therapy services; revised requirements for assignment of Medicare claims; addition to the list of telehealth services; and, several coding issues. We are making these changes to ensure that our payment systems are updated to reflect changes in medical practice and the relative value of services. This final rule also addresses the following provisions of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (Pub. L. 108-17) (MMA): coverage of an initial preventive physical examination; coverage of cardiovascular (CV) screening blood tests; coverage of diabetes screening tests; incentive payment improvements for physicians in shortage areas; payment for covered outpatient drugs and biologicals; payment for renal dialysis services; coverage of routine costs associated with certain clinical trials of category A devices as defined by the Food and Drug Administration; hospice consultation service; indexing the Part B deductible to inflation; extension of coverage of intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) for the treatment in the home of primary immune deficiency diseases; revisions to reassignment provisions; and, payment for diagnostic mammograms, physicians' services associated with drug administration services and coverage of religious nonmedical health care institution items and services to the beneficiary's home. In addition, this rule updates the codes subject to the physician self-referral prohibition, discusses payment for set-up of portable x-ray equipment, discusses the third five-year refinement of work RVUs, and solicits comments on potentially misvalued work RVUs. We are also finalizing the calendar year (CY) 2004 interim RVUs and are issuing interim RVUs for new and revised procedure codes for CY 2005. As required by the statute, we are announcing that the physician fee schedule update for CY 2005 is 1.5 percent, the initial estimate for the sustainable growth rate for CY 2005 is 4.3, and the conversion factor for CY 2005 is $37.8975.

PMID:
15551493
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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