In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, staying informed about policy changes and innovations is crucial. One such transformation is the Calendar Year (CY) 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Final Rule. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued this rule on November 2, 2023, and it holds several key updates that will impact healthcare providers and patients alike.
A More Equitable Health Care System:
The CY 2024 PFS Final Rule is part of a broader strategy to create a more equitable healthcare system. The aim is to improve access to care, enhance quality, increase affordability, and drive innovation. These changes signify a commitment to address disparities and ensure that healthcare remains a fundamental right for all Americans.
Key Highlights of the CY 2024 PFS Final Rule:
- Reduction in Payment Rates: Under the new rule, overall payment rates for PFS will decrease by 1.25% in CY 2024 compared to the previous year. This reduction is offset by significant increases in payment for primary care and other forms of direct patient care.
- Caregiver Training Services: In CY 2024, CMS is finalizing a proposal to pay for services where practitioners train caregivers to support patients with specific diseases or illnesses. These services are aimed at improving the care provided to Medicare beneficiaries and align with the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to enhance caregiver support.
- Services Addressing Health-Related Social Needs: CMS is updating coding and payment to better account for services that involve a multidisciplinary team of clinical staff and other auxiliary personnel. These changes are aligned with the Health and Human Services Social Determinants of Health Action Plan and support the Biden-Harris Cancer Moonshot goal.
- Telehealth Services: CY 2024 brings significant updates to telehealth services. CMS is finalizing the addition of health and well-being coaching services to the Medicare Telehealth Services List on a temporary basis for CY 2024 and Social Determinants of Health Risk Assessments on a permanent basis. This expansion will ensure that patients can access vital care from the comfort of their own homes.
- Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and FQHCs: The CY 2024 rule extends payment for telehealth services in RHCs and FQHCs through December 31, 2024, and delays the in-person visit requirements for mental health visits. This change is particularly significant for underserved populations who rely on FQHCs for healthcare services.
CSI Health’s Commitment:
CSI Health is dedicated to leveraging technology to improve access to healthcare services, enhance patient outcomes, and make healthcare more equitable. Our innovative products, like the CSI MedHub, are built to help extend the reach of healthcare across all communities by providing a unique telemedicine experience with integrated diagnostic equipment to increase what we can achieve with virtual services.
Overall, the extension of telehealth reimbursement introduced in the CY 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule marks an exciting opportunity for practices to expand the reach of their services. These changes will not only streamline the delivery of care but also pave the way for better healthcare outcomes, especially for those who depend on FQHCs for their medical needs. By recognizing the importance of telehealth and addressing the social determinants of health, the healthcare system is taking crucial steps toward providing comprehensive and accessible care.