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Physician Fee Schedule Draws Mixed Reaction

By Debra Shute  
   November 10, 2016

Groups representing primary care physicians welcome additional codes for chronic care management, but are concerned about administrative burden.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 2017 Physician Fee Schedule, finalized last week, emphasizes support for primary care. However, the extent to which the new rules and codes will actually benefit primary care physicians depends on whom you ask.

The American College of Physicians has generally applauded CMS' final rule, while the American Academy of Family Physicians has expressed a degree of disappointment.

PFS Billing-Code Rules 'A Step Forward,' Says AOA

For deeper insight, Brian Outland, senior associate for regulatory affairs in ACP's department of health policy and regulatory affairs; and John Meigs, Jr., MD, FAAFP, president of the AAFP spoke with HealthLeaders Media about the rule. The following transcript has been edited.

HLM: What reactions have you heard from your members so far about the rule?

Outland: The final rule contains a lot of wins for the college and our members that we pushed for, so overall the feedback from members has been favorable.

We like seeing how CMS is continuing to support primary care and the efforts they're putting behind chronic care management (CCM). The codes that they have approved for primary care physicians, such as non-face-to-face prolonged service codes, will be very helpful because, as we've seen over the years, much of the work PCPs are doing is outside of the brick-and-mortar [office].

We're also happy to see some lightening of the burden for CCM.

Meigs: The general tone has been appreciation of the things that CMS has done, but in a lot of ways it's still an example of a good idea being diminished by government bureaucracy.

HLM: Do you expect that the CCM codes will be user-friendly enough for physicians to use?

Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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