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CMS Issues Proposed 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule

On Aug. 3, CMS released the Calendar Year (CY) 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) proposed rule. Under the proposal, neurosurgeons face overall Medicare payment cuts of at least 7% next year. The reductions are primarily driven by new Medicare payment policies for office and outpatient visits that CMS will implement on Jan. 1, 2021. By law, any changes to the relative value units (RVUs) cannot increase or decrease expenditures for physician services by more than $20 million. If CMS increases RVUs for a given service, the increase must be offset by decreases in payments for other services. In the proposal, values for E/M and other visit codes will result in additional spending of $10.2 billion, necessitating a neutrality adjustment to the conversion factor. As a result, the proposed CY 2021 conversion factor is $32.26, a drastic 11% reduction over the CY 2020 conversion factor of $36.09. Additional details regarding the proposed rule are provided in a CMS fact sheet.

The AANS and the CNS will continue advocating to prevent the implementation of these cuts, including submitting comments to CMS and legislative action.

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