AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued the following statement regarding the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, Quality Payment Program final rule released today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):
“The AAMC is pleased with the documentation changes finalized by CMS in today’s rule. These will significantly reduce burden for physicians and other health care professionals, allowing them more time to focus on patients.
We also are grateful that CMS has delayed provisions that will set a single payment rate for outpatient evaluation and management visits Levels 2 through 4 until Jan. 1, 2021, allowing for continued stakeholder engagement. While we continue to review the rule, we appreciate that CMS acknowledges our concerns about the importance of appropriate payments for complex patients. Physicians who are associated with medical schools and teaching hospitals treat many patients with complex needs, and we look forward to working with CMS to ensure that payments accurately reflect the resources and effort needed to care for these patients. We also are happy that CMS took our recommendation and did not finalize proposed changes to the multiple procedure payment reduction policy.
Additionally, we applaud CMS for modernizing the Medicare program by paying for consultations between physicians through technology. Since 2014, primary care providers at many AAMC member medical centers have used electronic communication tools to gain important input from specialists without the need for an in-person visit. This saves patients time and money and improves the quality and efficiency of care. With CMS’s decision to reimburse physicians for these e-consults, more patients will benefit from these services.”
The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.