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Part B News has examined the basics of the 2021 physician fee schedule proposed rule that was released on August 4, and we'll have plenty more analysis and guidance on the topic in the days to come. Meanwhile, here are some reflections on different parts of the rule by some of Part B News' stable of experts. ​
The Quality Payment Program is delaying a major overhaul planned for 2021: Its MVP (MIPS Value Pathways) upgrade, which was meant to move participants “away from siloed activities and measures and towards an aligned set of measures that are more relevant to a clinician’s scope of practice,” has been delayed due to “stakeholder concerns” and COVID-19. Instead, CMS will make “additions to the framework’s guiding principles and development criteria” for 2022.
 
 
You can expect to see wild swings to Medicare pay rates in 2021, according to proposals CMS released this morning. The agency announced a nearly 11% cut to the Medicare physician fee schedule’s conversion factor (CF), dropping it to a rate of $32.26 next year, down from $36.09 in 2020.
 
Influencing the substantial decrease to the CF are the projected pay increases to the core set of E/M office visit codes (99202-99215). CMS confirmed that the E/M office visit codes remain on track for their first major overhaul in 25 years, according to the proposed 2021 Medicare physician fee schedule.
 

Citing the COVID-19 crisis, CMS announced some relief for quality reporting and data submission related to the Quality Payment Program (QPP), the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Medicare Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

If you are one of the qualifying APM participants (QPs) who earned a lump sum incentive payment for your hard work for an advanced alternative payment model (APM) in 2017, congratulations!

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