July 2, 2007—The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released today its 2008 proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). The proposed rule would update the physician fee schedule by a whopping -9.9%.

"For the past five years, Congress has intervened to prevent the implementation of the negative updates resulting from this formula," said CMS Acting Administrator Leslie V. Norwalk Esq. "CMS will continue working with Congress as well as physician groups to identify payment methods that help improve the quality and efficiency of care in a way that is cognizant of the costs to taxpayers and to Medicare and its beneficiaries."

Under the proposed rule, Stark mandates would be amended to prevent many "per click" lease arrangements. IDTF rules would be modified to permit back billing only to the date of the filing of an enrollment application that was subsequently approved, and no fixed-location IDTF could participate in a lease arrangement of any kind. The proposed MPFS also includes an anti-markup rule for the purchase of interpretation services from anyone but an employee.

Comments will be accepted through August 31, 2007. The complete proposal is available for download here.

—Cat Vasko