Updates to clinical labor staff pricing in the 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) proposed rule would significantly impact radiology reimbursement, especially for interventional radiology and radiation oncology. The threat results from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposal to update clinical labor staff wages that were last updated in 2002.
Clinical labor staff, medical supplies and equipment costs are three components of direct practice expense (PE) inputs, costs directly associated with the provision of a service or procedure. They are budget neutral, which means that an increase in payment for one component typically means a proportional decrease in payment in the other components.
The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) is leading the campaign to educate both the administration and Congress about this threat to patient access to care and the viability of radiology practices, including a concluded ACR member call to action. The ACR believes that CMS’ proposal to update the prices of clinical staff has merit but is concerned by the timing and the devastating redistributive effect this update will impose upon radiology and other medical specialties in which practice expense costs rely primarily on supply or equipment items.