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LETTER FROM THE PATIENT-CENTERED EVALUATION AND MANAGEMENT SERVICES COALITION TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
The Honorable Kevin Brady, Chairman
The Honorable Richard Neal, Ranking Member
Committee on Ways & Means
The Honorable Greg Walden, Chairman
The Honorable Frank Pallone, Ranking Member
Committee on Energy & Commerce
The Honorable Orrin Hatch, Chairman
The Honorable Ron Wyden, Ranking Member
Committee on Finance
Chairman Brady, Ranking Member Neal, Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Pallone, Chairman Hatch, and Ranking Member Wyden:
The undersigned members of The Patient-Centered Evaluation and Management Services Coalition (Coalition) write to share our concerns with the new evaluation and management (E/M) coding and payment proposals included in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule for Calendar Year 2019 (Rule). While we commend the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) efforts to reduce documentation burden, we are very concerned about the payment proposals and request that your committees take action to urge CMS to withdraw the E/M coding and payment proposals included in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule for Calendar Year 2019 (Rule).
We have significant concerns that the coding and payment aspects of the Rule, as currently framed, will have unintended consequences that will negatively impact patient access to appropriate care and should not be made final this year. For example, CMS proposes new codes that, while well-intentioned, are vague and could create new documentation burdens for practitioners. Implementation of any new coding structure requires substantial physician and office staff education and changes to our electronic health records systems, as well as changes for Medicare contractors and auditors. The undersigned medical professional societies and other stakeholders ask that any proposals to reform payment, including the proposed modifier 25 reimbursement reduction policy and coding for office visits, be withdrawn so we can work with CMS on a consensus-based coding structure the agency can implement in 2020 or 2021 without disrupting patient care and medical practice in your community.
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