Tell CMS, Congress, You Don’t Support E/M Coding Discrimination
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Write to CMS to Oppose Its Proposed Rule Requiring Podiatrists to Use E/M Coding Different Than for All Other Medicare Physicians
On July 12, CMS released a proposed rule [CMS-1693-P] that, if finalized, would require podiatrists to use different E/M codes than all other Medicare physicians. Those podiatry-specific codes would reimburse at a significantly lower rate.
Write to CMS to Oppose Unfair and Discriminatory Proposed Rule
In an attempt to reduce physician burden, CMS is proposing to reform documentation requirements for E/M services in the following manner:
- First, CMS would consolidate reimbursement for office-based and outpatient E/M visit levels 2 through 5 (i.e., CPT codes 99202 through 99205 for new patients and CPT codes 99212 through 99215 for established patients) into a singular flat-rate payment for new patients and established patients, respectively, regardless of which code is billed. Documentation requirements would be the same as they currently are for level 2 codes (99202 or 99212, as applicable).
- Second, while these payment changes would apply to all other Medicare physicians, CMS has singled out podiatric physicians with new separate “podiatric E/M codes” developed by CMS. These codes would require the same documentation and reimburse at a significantly lower rate, despite being the same evaluation and management services that your allopathic and osteopathic colleagues furnish.
APMA strongly opposes these proposed changes and is urging CMS to continue allowing podiatrists to bill using the same E/M codes that all other providers use, at the same rates of reimbursement. Podiatrists are recognized as physicians under the Medicare statute, and the same billing standards should apply to the critical foot and ankle care podiatric physicians provide. To value the exact same service differently is discriminatory and punitive.
Read APMA's Issue Brief for More Information
APMA urges all members to log on to the APMA eAdvocacy website and write to CMS. If you have not previously used APMA's new eAdvocacy site, you must register using either your Facebook account or by manually entering the information requested. A sample letter is provided for you, and APMA encourages members to customize the letter and include personal experiences or examples. Don't delay—take action today. CMS will not accept comments after September 10!
After you take action, ask your patients, office staff, family, and friends to write to CMS using the template letter drafted from the patient perspective!
APMA's comprehensive campaign to ensure this discriminatory proposal is not finalized includes:
- submitting its own comment letter to CMS;
- meeting with CMS directly;
- engaging congressional allies and external stakeholders; and
- facilitating submission of comment letters by component and affiliate societies.
Comments or questions about the proposed rule may be directed to the APMA Health Policy and Practice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.