In a significant win for physicians, the 116th Congress adopted a massive $1.4 trillion omnibus spending package and a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package last month. The legislation included changes to the Medicare physician fee schedule that mitigated the budget neutrality cuts to physician payment and  extends the moratorium on the budget sequestration that would have resulted in an additional 2% cut to physician Medicare payments.

The Medicare physician payment final rule indicated that there would be a 10.2% across-the-board reduction due to budget neutrality requirements had Congress not taken action. 

There will also be a 3.75% pay raise across all specialties and payments listed in the final 2021 Medicare schedule covered by funds drawn from the U.S. Treasury general fund to the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust.

The American Medical Association (AMA) estimates that most specialties will now see either a neutral or positive change in total Medicare payments for 2021. The impact for individual practices will depend on physician specialty and mix of services.

An updated Medicare physician fee schedule for 2021 is expected to be published next week.

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