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Ob-Gyn Coding Alert

News Brief:
Ob-Gyn Reimbursement Will Go Up 1.6 Percent in 2003

Ob-gyns won't be facing the more than 4 percent decrease originally planned for 2003. Thanks to a last-minute congressional move, CMS raised the 2003 conversion factor approximately 1.6 percent effective March 1, bringing it slightly higher than where it stood in 2002. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Final Rule published in the Feb. 28 Federal Register, CMS raised the conversion factor to $36.79 for services rendered on or after March 1.

Although the 2002 conversion factor stood at $36.20, CMS previously announced that it would reduce the 2003 conversion factor to only $34.59 a 4.4 percent decrease. Fortunately, ob-gyns need not face this grim reduction after all.

"The action CMS is taking today will ensure that the doctors who treat Medicare patients will see an increase in the payments they get for those services, rather than the reduction previously anticipated," said HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson in a Feb. 26 statement.

Medicare Program Memorandum AB-02-181 states that claims for dates of service Jan. 1 through Feb. 28 "billed with 2002 HCPCS codes but paid at the 2003 rates will automatically be adjusted after July 1, 2003." Therefore, if your carrier reimburses your January and February 2003 claims using the original 2003 conversion factor of $34.59, it will pay you the difference after July 1. For additional information, refer to the CMS Web site at www.cms.gov.  

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