The spending package signed into law on December 29, 2022, provides two pieces of partial relief for the significant physician payments cuts scheduled for 2023:
- A halt to the 4 percent Statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) sequester for two years.
- Reduction in the physician fee schedule cut from 4.5percent to 2percent for 2023 and approximately 3 percent for 2024.
While this will provide some relief, this 2 percent reduction follows two decades without positive updates to the MPFS. Physicians face this payment reduction while costs continue to rise in the midst of inflation, and the AACU will continue our strong advocacy for comprehensive physician payment reform with the 118th Congress.
The bill also continues the Medicare telehealth flexibilities for two calendar years, regardless of the status of the PHE, through December 31, 2024. These include:
- Waiving the geographic restrictions and originating site requirements (Sec. 4113(a))
- Expanding the list of practitioners eligible to furnish telehealth services (Sec. 4113(b))
- Allowing telehealth services for Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers (Sec. 4113(c))
- Delaying the in-person visit requirement before a patient receives mental health services furnished through telehealth and telecommunications (Sec. 4113(d))
- Allowing for telehealth services through audio-only telecommunications (Sec. 4113(e))
- Allowing for telehealth to be used for a required face-to-face encounter prior to the recertification of a patient’s eligibility for hospice care (Sec. 4113(f)).