Medicare physician payment schedule

UPDATED . 3 MIN READ

2024 Medicare physician payment schedule

The CY 2024 Medicare Physician Payment Schedule Final Rule updates payment policies and rates as well as other provisions for services offered on or after Jan. 1, 2024, under the Medicare Physician Payment Schedule. 

The AMA provides final rule summary of the 2024 Medicare Physician Payment Schedule and Quality Payment Program (QPP).

In addition, CMS has released the CY 2024 Medicare Physician Payment Schedule Proposed Rule, including key proposals that impact Medicare physician payment and the Quality Payment Program (QPP). Key proposals include a predicted 3.36% reduction in the 2024 Medicare conversion factor, implementation of the Evaluation and Management (E/M) add-on code with a modified utilization assumption, a delay in implementing updated Medicare Economic Index (MEI) weights, an increased performance threshold in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and a delay in mandatory eCQM adoption for MSSP participants.

The AMA has prepared:

  1. A detailed summary of the MFS (PDF) which discusses these crucial provisions in depth as well as many other provisions in the proposal and will provide further understanding of the potential impacts of these changes.
  2. A specialty impact analysis (PDF) developed by the American Medical Association (AMA) illustrating the combined effect of the budget neutrality proposals in the rule and the reduction to the conversion factor under current law.
  3. A comprehensive QPP data analysis (PDF) based on the 2021 performance period, including information about MIPS scores by specialty and state.

The Social Security Act (the Act) requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish payments under the Medicare Physician Payment Schedule based on national uniform relative value units (RVUs) that account for the relative resources used in furnishing a service. The Act requires that RVUs be established for 3 categories of resources:

  • Physician work
  • Practice expense (PE)
  • Malpractice (MP) expense

CMS is also required to establish by regulation each year’s payment amounts for all physician services paid under the Medicare Physician Payment Schedule, incorporating geographic adjustments to reflect the variations in the costs of furnishing services in different geographic areas.

The Medicare Physician Payment Schedule’s impact on a physician’s Medicare payments is primarily a function of 3 key factors:

Calculating the payment schedule

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The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 (OBRA 89) geographic adjustment provision requires all 3 components of the relative value for a service—physician work relative value units (RVUs), practice expense RVUs and professional liability insurance (PLI) RVUs—to be adjusted by the corresponding GPCI for the locality. In effect, this provision increases the number of components in the payment schedule from 3 to the following 6:

  • Physician work RVUs
  • Physician work GPCI
  • Practice expense RVUs
  • Practice expense GPCI
  • PLI RVUs
  • PLI GPCI

The formula for calculating payment schedule amounts entails adjusting RVUs, which correspond to services, by the GPCIs, which correspond to payment localities.

Calculating total RVU

Work RVU* x Work GPCI** + Practice Expense (PE) RVU x PE GPCI + Malpractice (PLI) RVU x PLI GPCI = Total RVU

Calculating Medicare payment

Total RVU x the CY 2024 Conversion Factor of $32.7442 (Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2024) = Medicare Payment

*The 2024 physician work, practice expenses and malpractice RVUs may be found in the Final Rule Downloads (CY 2024 PFS Final Rule Addendum B).

**The Geographic Practice Cost Index (GPCIs) for calendar year (CY) 2024 may also be found in the Final Rule Downloads (CY 2024 PFS Final Rule Addendum E).

View the History of Medicare conversion factors (PDF).

View the History of Budget Neutrality (PDF).

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