The official version of the CMS 2004 physician fee schedule should be published today by the Government Printing Office, according to CMS.
The fee schedule applies to Medicare services under the fee-for-service program, but not Medicare+Choice or Medicaid.
Under the Administrative Procedure Act, a rule is only binding if it has been published in the Federal Register. That generally occurs before the effective date of the rule, in this case, Jan. 1. But the legislation behind the rule, the Medicare Reform Act, was not signed into law until Dec. 8. The government attributed the delay to a mechanical glitch in getting the entire document printed.
The rule has been posted on the CMS Web site since Dec. 31. It will increase payments on average by about 1.5% to physicians and other healthcare professionals for services under Medicare, according to CMS.