HHS extends COVID-19 PHE until April 21

The American Medical Association (AMA) reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) that was scheduled to end on January 21 by 90 days. AMA says that, “This means that all of the telehealth and other waivers and flexibilities that have been implemented during the PHE will remain in effect until at least April 21, 2021.”

AMA adds that the Consolidated Appropriations Act that was signed into law on December 27, 2020, included “provisions that offset most of the 10.2 percent budget neutrality adjustment that had been slated to take effect for Medicare-covered services provided as of January 1, 2021.”

And AMA notes that “CMS has now confirmed that it is implementing the following provisions of this legislation and that there will be no delay in claims processing for 2021 services (i.e., claims will be paid on time at the correct 2021 rates that reflect this legislation).”

According to CMS, the Consolidated Appropriations Act modified the Calendar Year (CY) 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) by…

– Providing a 3.75 percent increase in MPFS payments for CY 2021

– Suspending the 2 percent payment adjustment (sequestration) through March 31, 2021

– Reinstating the 1.0 floor on the work Geographic Practice Cost Index through CY 2023

– Delaying implementation of the inherent complexity add-on code for evaluation and management services (G2211) until CY 2024

CMS has “recalculated the MPFS payment rates and conversion factor to reflect these changes. The revised MPFS conversion factor for CY 2021 is 34.8931. The revised payment rates are available in the Downloads section of the CY 2021 Physician Fee Schedule final rule (CMS-1734-F) web page.”