The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) proposed increased reimbursement for two heavily used chemotherapy administration codes (90408 and 90410), but not nearly as much as ASCO had been pushing for. AMAs relative value update committee (RUC) voted to accept ASCOs data justifying an increase in the clinical staff time related to an oncologists expenses associated with both codes.This recommendation was forwarded to HCFA. Clinical staff timethe time a nurse or staff spends giving chemotherapy or educating a patientis figured into the practice expense, which, with physician work (time spent face-to-face with the patient) and malpractice expense, is part of the formula for determining a CPT codes relative value, which dictates reimbursement. However, HCFA slightly lowered the clinical staff times recommended by the RUC. Julie Taylor, deputy director of public policy for ASCO, says the group will be submitting comments to HCFA to accept the RUC recommendation. HCFAs final decision will go into effect on January 1, 2001.
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