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.