Medicare in January eliminated use of consultation codes except for those for telemedicine services, and told physicians to bill for consultations using the most appropriate remaining evaluation and management codes. The results, according to the American Medical Association, are lower reimbursements, reduced services to Medicare patients and less coordination of care.

The AMA and 17 other associations in April conducted a survey of about 5,500 physicians. Results showed 30 percent had already reduced services to Medicare patients or are contemplating cost-cutting steps, 20 percent have reduced or eliminated appointments for new Medicare patients, 39 percent will defer the purchase of new equipment and/or information technologies, and 34 percent are cutting staff. Six percent have stopped providing consultative reports to primary care physicians and another 19 percent plan on stopping.

The organizations have sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services asking officials to review and modify the coding policy to prevent deterioration of care coordination between physicians. For more information, click here.

--Joseph Goedert


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