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Lundebjerg NE, Jacobs LG, Trucil DE, Goldstein AC, Saliba D. Putting Complex Older Persons First: How the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 2019 Payment Proposal Fails Older Americans. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2019 Jan 1; 67(1):145-150.
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Abstract: In July 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule rule for calendar year 2019 (MPFS2019). The proposal sets forth CMS-recommended updates to Medicare payment policies, payment rates, and quality provisions for services provided in the next calendar year. From year to year, the rule also can serve as a vehicle for soliciting input on new payment proposals and changes to existing policies. Among the payment and quality proposals in the MPFS2019 proposal, CMS proposed extensive changes to Current Procedural Terminology codes that are the framework for documentation and payment for office-based evaluation and management (E/M) services. The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) believes the proposed payment methodology changes for E/M services would have had a significant negative impact on care for older Americans. On September 10, 2018, the AGS submitted its comments on this proposal and other aspects of the rule, and the AGS also submitted a comment letter signed by 41 organizations from an AGS-led multispecialty coalition. The coalition also worked collaboratively on outreach to Congress, which included visits to Capitol Hill and a coalition letter stressing our collective support for reducing the burden of documentation for clinicians and our opposition to the proposed changes in payment methodology. In all letters, we noted that the AGS and members of our coalition hoped to work collaboratively with CMS and other stakeholders to develop a refined approach that would achieve the best possible outcomes for patients, particularly frail older Americans with multiple chronic conditions. In releasing their final MPFS2019, CMS postponed the E/M coding collapse for at least two years, a decision that speaks to the hard work of the AGS, its members, and the multi-specialty coalition, and which opens the door for further discussions about the future of payment for E/M services so critical to older people. J Am Geriatr Soc 67:145-150, 2019.