CMS issues final 2016 Medicare payment rule; includes reimbursement for end-of-life discussions

November 02, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: End of Life Issues Patient Care Payor Issues and Reimbursement Public Payors 

On Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final 2016 Medicare physician fee schedule. One of the biggest changes in the CMS proposal is the assignment of codes to pay physicians for end-of-life consultations.

Key policies finalized in the 2016 payment rule include:

Advanced care planning: The final fee schedule includes two CPT codes to reimburse for advance care planning. Compensating health care professionals for time spent with patients discussing treatment wishes and goals of care is a critical step forward in honoring patient treatment preferences, particularly for those nearing the end of life.

Physician payments: The final rule includes a 0.5 percent overall increase in Medicare reimbursement in 2016 for all providers.

Merit-Based Incentive Payment System: In the final rule, CMS has made changes necessary to begin implementation of the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System for physicians and other practitioners, which will fully take effect in 2019.

For more information, see the CMS fact sheets.

Click here to view the final rule.


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