By staff writers

July 9, 2013 -- The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on July 8 released a Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) proposed rule for 2014.

The document brings some relatively good news: Many of the agency's cuts to imaging specialties are lower than they were in 2013, and there are no new multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) policies.

Under the proposed rule, cuts to imaging specialties would be somewhat lessened compared to 2013. Radiation therapy centers would take the biggest hit of all medical specialties, with payment cuts of 13% -- last year's cuts were 9%. Radiation oncology would catch a break in 2014, going from cuts of 7% to 5%.

Other imaging-related specialties would also feel the pain, but at lower percentages: In fact, nuclear medicine would see a 1% raise, compared with last year's 3% cut, while radiology's cuts would go from 3% to 1%.

The proposed MPFS cuts do not take into account the effects of whether Congress is able to fix the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, according to CMS. The agency is now projecting a 24.4% reduction in the SGR in 2014. And the rule also boosts the equipment utilization rate for imaging equipment priced over $1 million from 75% to 90%, following a mandate given in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

However, there are no new MPPR policies in this proposed rule. The 2013 MPFS established a 25% MPPR on the professional component for CT, MR, and ultrasound services performed by the same physician on the same patient in the same session, and that is still in effect, CMS said.

Copyright © 2013

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