CMS Releases Final Rule for CY 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for the CY 2022 Medicare physician fee schedule. In a statement after the rule’s release, American Medical Association President Dr. Gerald Harmon noted that the rule confirms the cuts that are in store that Congress must address before the end of the year. Notably, the 2022 Medicare conversion factor will be reduced by approximately 3.85% from 34.8931 (2021) to 33.5983. This is largely a result of the expiration of a 3.75% increase to the conversion factor at the end of calendar year 2021, as averted in 2021 by Congressional action.
Additionally, CMS finalized provisions that extend coverage of services that were added to the Medicare telehealth list on an interim basis in response to the COVID-19 PHE until the end of 2023 and eliminated geographic barriers, allowing patients in their homes to access telehealth services for diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of mental health disorders. CMS also announced plans to permanently increase payment for immunization administration, beyond COVID vaccines and relied on information from the AMA and the RUC in developing the improved payment rates. CMS is also moving forward with the first round of seven MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs) that will be available, beginning with the 2023 performance year.
Health Care and Large Employer Vaccine Mandate Rules Released – Compliance Required by Jan. 4
On Thursday, Nov. 4th the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released emergency regulations requiring COVID-19 vaccination of eligible staff at health care facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Facilities covered by the regulation must establish a policy ensuring all eligible staff have received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to providing any care, treatment, or other services by December 5, 2021. Staff must have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. The regulation also provides for exemptions based on recognized medical conditions or religious beliefs but the regulation requires staff vaccination only and does not provide for a testing alternative. The regulation applies to Medicare and Medicaid-certified provider and supplier types that are subject to CMS health and safety regulations such as hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers and ambulatory surgical centers but not to independent physician practices. CMS will enforce the mandate through routine inspections, or surveys, of the facilities that participate in the federal insurance programs. See the press release, FAQs and the full rule here.
Also on November 4th, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) rules that include binding requirements for all employers with a total of 100 or more employees to implement a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for unvaccinated employees who undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work. Click here for the full rule, factsheets, webinars and employee information. The mandate will take effect January 4th. Multiple lawsuits have been filed to challenge this requirement and on Saturday, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Louisiana temporarily blocked the mandate. But the block doesn't have an immediate effect, the press has reported, since the first major deadline in the rule is Dec. 5 and it is unclear what further legal actions will have taken place by then.
These latest regulations are in addition to the Health Care ETS released in June for health care settings “where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated.” This regulation requires COVID-19 mitigation steps to be taken by many health care entities, such as implementing a COVID-19 plan, patient screening and record keeping requirements. For more information see the “Is your workplace covered by the COVID-19 Healthcare ETS?” flow chart and the fact sheets, sample check lists and other materials here.
Physician Executive Leadership Institute - Accepting Applications!
The Vermont Medical Society Education & Research Foundation (VMSERF) is proud to announce its third statewide Physician Executive Leadership Institute Foundational Course to begin in winter 2022! This course is offered in partnership with the Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership and Lumunos.
Physicians and PAs have been asked to step up and skillfully lead rapid change throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Every clinician brought their leadership, management styles, and skills to the forefront to ensure the best outcomes for Vermont patients. VMSERF is pleased to continue an experiential learning opportunity that will enhance and fine-tune the most important leadership skills and concepts for a statewide cohort of Vermont physicians and PAs.
To learn more details about the 2022 course, the curriculum, and how to apply, click here or contact email@example.com. Applications are due November 19th.