Update

October 19, 2007

Practice news you can use

HEALTHCARE ECONOMICS

New study sheds light on spending

Proposed cuts could hurt patients

More than four in 10 medical groups say they'll have to limit the number of Medicare patients they see if a proposed 9.9 percent cut in physician reimbursements for Medicare Part B takes effect in January. Besides restricting patient access to remain financially viable, group practices would also do the following:

NPIS

National Provider Identifiers published

By posting online a list of all healthcare providers who have National Provider Identifiers (NPIs), CMS has addressed one of the unresolved issues that forced it to delay the deadline for NPI implementation by one year. The NPI registry was published Sept. 4 and became downloadable on Sept. 12. (Go to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/nationalprovidentstand and click on Data Dissemination, under Overview.)

All healthcare providers must use NPIs alone on claims forms by May 23, 2008. But private payers are still testing the new numbers with physicians, hospitals, and other HIPAA-covered entities. CMS urges providers to include their UPIN and other "legacy" numbers in their registry files, so that those can be posted in the online NPI disclosures for use in testing.

Registry listings include a doctor's office address, phone number, specialty, and medical license number. CMS policy is to exclude information that could put providers at risk of identity theft.