As we reported last week, ASCRS has joined with the surgical community and the American Medical Association (AMA) to oppose CMS’ proposal in the recently released 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule to maintain the current values of post-operative E/M visits in the global surgery bundled codes, instead of increasing them to correspond with the proposed increased values of standalone E/M visits for 2021. As a reminder, CMS is proposing to adopt increased values for office visit E/M codes beginning in 2021 that were recommended by the AMA’s Relative Value Update Committee (RUC). While the proposed rule has a 60-day comment period, we are joining with the surgical community to send a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma in the coming days that expresses our opposition to the proposal. In addition to the letter, we are also requesting an immediate meeting with the CMS Administrator.
In the letter, we will note that CMS’ proposal not to increase the values of post-operative E/M visits will disrupt the relativity of the physician fee schedule. In addition, since only surgical specialties, such as ophthalmology, bill 10- and 90-day global codes, the proposal would result in paying some specialties a different rate for the same services performed by other specialties, which is in violation of current law. Finally, while CMS is accepting the RUC’s values for standalone E/M codes, it is ignoring the RUC’s near unanimous (27-1) vote to increase post-operative E/M values in the global packages. We will keep you updated.