CMS proposes change in office visit codes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma sent a letter to doctors proposing changes to the documentation requirements for office visit codes that physicians use. The proposal is to use a system with just one set of requirements and one payment level for each patient. The current system of codes includes five levels for office visits and the differences between the codes are difficult to discern as each code has unique documentation requirements and are time consuming to complete.

In Administrator Verma’s letter, she stated most specialties would see changes in their overall Medicare payments in the range of 1-2 percent up or down as a result of this proposal, which CMS believes would be outweighed by the significant reduction in documentation burden.

The letter also stated that if the proposal is approved, more than 500 years of clinician time would be saved each year, which would be additional time available for patient care.