January 9, 2021
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an updated conversion factor (CF) of $34.89 and revised 2021 payment rates for services paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) on January 7, 2021. These updates reflect extensive advocacy by ASHA and a large coalition of stakeholders, resulting in provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (H.R. 133) that significantly reduced the payment cuts. Key provisions included a 3.75% increase to 2021 MPFS payments and delay of a new add-on code that will significantly decrease costs to the Medicare program.
Audiologists were set to see a 6% cut and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) would have experienced a 9% reduction beginning in 2021. However, H.R. 133 reduced these cuts by an average of 7%. An additional 2% increase in payments due to suspension of the sequestration adjustment will be available through March 31, 2021, but will be applied to payments only after claims are submitted.
ASHA’s MPFS resources for audiologists and SLPs are available on the Medicare outpatient payment page and reflect the new CF and 2021 payment rates. The documents also provide 2020 rates for comparison to help audiologists and SLPs estimate the impact of the payment updates.
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