The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Final Rule on Oct. 30, 2015. It addresses changes to the physician fee schedule as well as other important Medicare Part B payment policies. The rule became effective Jan. 1, 2016, and was published in the Nov. 16, 2014, Federal Register. Last month, we reviewed changes to Medicare payments and incentive programs. This month, we’ll look at some coding changes for 2016.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 35 – No 02 – February 2016
Proposal to Eliminate the Global Surgical Package for Procedures
CMS has previously proposed to eliminate the 10-day global and 90-day global packages for many procedures. The relative value units (RVUs) and payments for affected procedures would be lowered substantially because the procedures would not include any bundled follow-up care as part of the payment for the initial procedure. CMS originally proposed to make this transition for procedures that have a 10-day global period in 2017 and for procedures that have a 90-day global period in 2018. The methodology for recalculating the RVUs associated with broad, sweeping changes to the global surgical packages has proven to be complicated, and CMS has softened the exact timeline. If the global surgical package were phased out, ED providers would continue to bill for procedures, such as incision and drainage, joint reductions, etc., but the RVUs would be significantly reduced. However, if a patient returns to the ED for additional care, the opportunity might exist to report a 9928x E/M level for associated follow-up visits.
On Oct. 1, 2016 (one year after implementation of ICD-10), regular updates to ICD-10 will begin. The ICD Coordination and Maintenance Committee will continue to meet twice a year during this partial freeze.
The Fee Schedule included the following statement about next steps in evaluating global surgical packages:
“We appreciate the extensive comments we received from the public regarding the global surgical package. We have noted the positive feedback from commenters about holding potential open forums or town hall meetings to discuss this process. We will consider these comments regarding the best means to develop and implement the process to gather information needed to value surgical services as we develop proposals for inclusion in next year’s  PFS proposed rule.” —MPFS Final Rule 114/1358
2016 CPT Coding Changes
The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) book is published annually, and for 2016, there are 92 deletions, 134 revisions, and 140 CPT code additions, totaling 366 changes. The code changes impacting emergency medicine are listed below.
The Following Code Has Been Added for 2016
69209 Removal impacted cerumen using irrigation/lavage, unilateral Significant specific direction is also provided:
- For removal of impacted cerumen requiring instrumentation, use 69210.
- For cerumen removal that is not impacted, use an E/M service code.
- Do not report 69209 in conjunction with 69210 when performed on the same ear.
- For bilateral procedure, report 69209 with modifier 50.
Significant Changes to Pelvic and Hip X-Ray Codes
Deleted: 73500 Radiological examination, hip, unilateral; 1 view