The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the 2007 Proposed Physician Fee Schedule in the August 22, 2006 Federal Register: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/quarterlyproviderUpdates/downloads/cms1321p.pdf. In addition to the fee schedule reductions arising out of the proposed revisions to the work relative value units (RVUs) as proposed in the Federal Register on June 29, 2006, as reported in the Med Law Blog at that time, the new proposed physician fee schedule also incorporates the 5.1% reduction which would be mandated by the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) parameters currently in place. Congress has legislatively overridden the mandatory reductions for the past several years, and there are proposals not only to do so again this year but to reform the Medicare payment system using Pay For Performing (P4P) or quality incentives.
The combined impact of the SGR reductions and the work RVU reductions by specialty are projected in Table 7 of the Proposed Rules, August 22, 2006 Federal Register at page 49070.
In addition to the reimbursement changes, the Proposed Rules also make significant revisions to the participation requirements for Independent Diagnostic Testing Facilities, and proposed changes to the Stark II definition of “centralized billing” and clarifications of the Reassignment Rules, both of which will be the subject of separate MedLaw Blog posts in the next few days.