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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Medical Fees: Does One Price Fit All?

The Federal government has proposed a simplified medical billing process that may impact workers' compensation billing practices going forward. Most workers' compensation fee medical fee schedules are linked either directly and indirectly the to Federal Medicare model and a proposed Rule published last week in the Federal Register proposes a single fee for all office visits.

Valuing medical services at one rate in workers' compensation would eliminate litigating medical fee disputes and would also establish a more uniform fee payment system and certainty for insurance companies to anticipate medical costs.

The following is shared from the NY Times:

"The Trump administration is proposing huge changes in the way Medicare pays doctors for the most common of all medical services, the office visit, offering physicians basically the same amount, regardless of a patient’s condition or the complexity of the services provided.

"Administration officials said the proposal would radically reduce paperwork burdens, freeing doctors to spend more time with patients. The government would pay one rate for new patients and another, lower rate for visits with established patients.

"'Time spent on paperwork is time away from patients,' said Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She estimated that the change would save 51 hours of clinic time per doctor per year.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters).