Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are proposing hey new rule impacting the 2021 Medicare physician fee schedule, which will likely result in a 10.6% reduction in payments to psychologists providing services to Medicare beneficiaries, according to the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Health Care Financing.
APA said that the reductions are proposed in order to offset higher values for next year’s outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) services. E/M services, which are typically a 15 minute, face-to-face with the patient, and decision-making of low complexity.
APA reported that CMS is also proposing to increase the values for some psychotherapy
codes (90791, 90832, 90834, and 90837) but this will not be enough to offset the losses for psychologists.
These payment cuts stem from the agency’s legal requirement to maintain a neutral budget from one year to the next, said APA.
APA is also partnering with a coalition of healthcare providers asking Congress to work
with CMS on a solution that will allow the increases for E/M without cutting payments to
other providers, said officials.
CMS is also proposing that non-physician practitioners (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) be allowed to supervise diagnostic testing including psychological and neuropsychological testing, if the state law and their scope of practice allows.
“APA is adamantly opposed to this proposal and is reaching out to CMS for more information— e.g. circumstances under which such supervision could occur and what types of tests would be involved,” said APA officials.