There are two positive changes for vascular surgeons regarding AAA screening and the proposed non-facility cap in the 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule.
After SVS met with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on barriers to AAA screening for Medicare beneficiaries, CMS has decided to unlink this screening with the Welcome to Medicare Physician Exam, meaning that male-ever smokers ages 65-75 and men and women with a family history of AAA can be screened without a referral.
Although this remains a one-time screening, Medicare beneficiaries no longer have a one-year limit to receive this benefit. This allows vascular surgeons to order AAA screening for at-risk beneficiaries using G code 0389 even if patients have not had the physical exam.
CMS is deferring the proposed non-facility cap for future consideration. This proposal capped 15 codes for services performed in angiography suites at either hospital outpatient or ambulatory surgical center rates even though these services are rarely or never performed in either of these two settings.
SVS will keep members informed on how this Final Rule will affect vascular surgeons.