Provisions in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA)

The ACA, signed into law on March 23, 2010, includes a number of provisions designed to help physicians. Some of those changes are reflected in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), CMS-1503-P. CMS is accepting comments on the proposed rule until August 24, 2010, and will respond to them in a final rule to be issued on or about November 1, 2010.

Physician Self-Referral for Certain Imaging Services:
The ACA amends the in-office ancillary services exception to the self-referral law as applied to advanced imaging services, such as magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and positron emission tomography, to require a physician to disclose to a patient in writing at the time of the referral that there are other suppliers of these imaging services, along with a list of other suppliers in the area in which the patient resides.

Misvalued Codes Under the Physician Fee Schedule:
The ACA requires CMS to periodically review and identify potentially misvalued codes and make appropriate adjustments to the relative values of the services that may be misvalued.

Modification of Equipment Utilization Factor for Advanced Imaging Services:
Effective January 1, 2011, CMS will assign a 75 percent equipment utilization rate assumption to expensive diagnostic imaging equipment used in diagnostic computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services. In addition, beginning on July 1, 2010, the ACA increases the established multiple procedure payment reduction for the technical component of certain single-session imaging services to consecutive body areas from 25 to 50 percent for the second and subsequent imaging procedures performed in the same session.

Maximum Period for Submission of Medicare Claims Reduced to Not More than 12 Months:
The ACA changes the time frame during which claims may be submitted for physicians' services to one year from the date of service, beginning with services furnished on or after January 1, 2010.

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