Payment Cuts, Nursing Facility Clinician Affiliations Part of CMS’ CY 2022 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule

November 5, 2021
Policy Snapshot

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule that includes updates on policy changes for Medicare payments under the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), and other Medicare Part B issues. The rule finalizes approximately 4%-5% cuts to nursing home codes. With the budget neutrality adjustment to account for changes in RVUs—relative value units—(required by law), and expiration of the 3.75% temporary CY 2021 payment increase provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA), the CY 2022 PFS conversion factor is $33.59, a decrease of $1.30 from the CY 2021 PFS conversion factor of $34.89. See the table below for the specifics on the nursing home codes:


Total 2022

2022 Payment Rate

Total 2021

2021 Payment Rate

Percentage Change



































































%= (new-old)/old


Given that these cuts are based on statutory requirements for budget neutrality, AMDA anticipated that they would be finalized. However, we are disappointed and are against any cuts to nursing home services during a pandemic that has affected clinicians and patients in this setting at a disproportionate rate. We continue to work in a large coalition of specialty societies to urge Congress to take immediate action to avert these cuts and ensure continued access to vital clinical services for the vulnerable population in our nation’s nursing homes. To urge your congressional representatives to pass legislation to avert these cuts please use this letter.

Other provisions included in the final rule:

Attending Physician Affiliations with Nursing Facilities

For several years, the Society has been advocating for CMS to provide more transparency around clinicians who practice in the nursing home setting. The Society has directly asked CMS to establish a medical director registry or list so that the public and federal agencies can quickly and easily contact all medical directors during emergencies. With this rule, CMS took a major step forward in achieving one of Society’s top advocacy priorities.

While CMS is not yet establishing such a list, they state that they are not doing so yet due to lack of the agency’s ability to collect such information. However, CMS has finalized a proposal that will now list attending physicians’ “affiliations” with nursing facilities under the care compare website. CMS will use Medicare billing data to establish a nursing facility “affiliation.” This is a major step forward in identifying clinicians in this space and we applaud CMS for taking this step. We also look forward to continuing our work with CMS to figure out ways to collect medical director information so that it can be added to the care compare website. The exact language in the rule reads:

“We currently do not have a mechanism or source of data for verifying medical director or other healthcare administrative roles in SNFs or other types of care settings. Rather, if the clinician has filed a claim, it is because that clinician is actively treating patients and furnishing healthcare services, even if they also have an administrative role. We would not have information to report for a medical director or other healthcare administrator unless they have filed a claim. We understand the commenters concern and will explore alternative data sources that are found to be reliable. ...In response to questions regarding how we plan to obtain and verify facility affiliation, we plan to determine additional facility affiliations by using claims data in the same way we determine the hospital affiliations currently on clinician profile pages. This analysis includes reviewing claims for clinicians practicing at a given facility caring for at least three different Medicare patients on three different dates of service in the preceding 6 months, as documented in Medicare claims.”

Split (or Shared) E/M visits

CMS will define a split (or shared) visit as an E/M visit in the facility setting that is performed in part by both a physician and an NP who are in the same group, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. The proposed change would add this definition to a new section of CMS regulations at 42 CFR 415.140.

CMS did note that under its current policy, no E/M services can be furnished and billed as split (or shared) visits in the SNF setting per their Conditions of Participation in 42 CFR 483.30 regarding the SNF/NF visits that are required to be performed in their entirety by a physician. That regulation requires that certain SNF/NF visits must be furnished directly and solely by a physician. If finalized, the split visit proposal would not apply to the SNF/NF visits that are required to be performed in their entirety by a physician; any SNF/NF visit that is required to be performed in its entirety by a physician cannot and would not be able to be billed as a split (or shared) visit. However, for other visits for which the regulation at § 483.30 does not apply, there is no requirement for a physician to directly and solely perform the visit. CMS proposes that those visits could be furnished and billed as split (or shared) visits.

Telehealth Services

CMS finalized several policies related to telehealth. While many current codes that were added to the telehealth list during the pandemic will remain on what CMS terms as Category 3 basis—meaning they will continue to study these codes and determine whether they should permanently stay or not—this was not the case for nursing facility codes. CMS finalized the following polices in that regard:

  • Nursing facility services initial visit codes (99304-06)—Remain temporarily on the Medicare telehealth services list through the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE). Once the PHE ends, they will NOT be extended. CMS states that once the PHE is over, these services must remain in-person.
  • Domiciliary or rest home (99324-28)—Temporarily on list of Medicare telehealth services list through the end of the PHE. Once the PHE ends, they will NOT be extended.
  • Nursing facility subsequent care codes (99307-99310)—Permanently on list of Medicare telehealth services, During the PHE, the telehealth frequency limitation has been eliminated for these codes. However, once the PHE ends, the practitioner will again be restricted to billing the 99307-99310 codes to once per 14 days as was finalized in the CY2021 PFS.

LIST OF MEDICARE TELEHEALTH SERVICES  effective January 1, 2022 (updated November 1, 2021)


Nursing facility care init.

Temporary Addition for the PHE for the COVID-19 Pandemic


Nursing facility care init.

Temporary Addition for the PHE for the COVID-19 Pandemic


Nursing facility care init.

Temporary Addition for the PHE for the COVID-19 Pandemic


Nursing fac care subseq.

 After PHE—billable once per 14 days


Nursing fac care subseq.

 After PHE—billable once per 14 days


Nursing fac care subseq.

 After PHE—billable once per 14 days


Nursing fac care subseq.

 After PHE—billable once per 14 days


Nursing facility discharge day

Available Through December 31, 2023


Nursing facility discharge day

Available Through December 31, 2023
















The Society opposes these policies. As stated in our comment letter on the proposed rule, we believe nursing facility codes, like many others in the health-care system, should remain on the list on a Category 3 basis with no frequency limitations so that we can determine how to effectively utilize them moving forward. Taking away a valuable tool that has worked to reduce hospitalizations and according to studies has done no harm to PALTC patients is counterproductive. Given the current workforce crisis in PALTC, we need to be using every tool available and provide clinicians flexibility to use these tools in order to best care for their patients.

Quality Payment Program

CMS continues to make changes to the Quality Payment Program (QPP). The biggest change in this program in some time is that CMS finalized its proposal to move toward MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs). The goal of the MVPs is to streamline the currently fragmented reporting requirements that are burdensome to clinical practices. CMS’ goal is to move toward this type of reporting by 2027. There are several MVPs finalized in the rule; however, they do not currently impact PALTC directly. The Society will continue to work with CMS to establish appropriate quality measures and reporting requirements as it moves toward the MVPs paradigm.

For 2022, CMS has finalized several changes to the Merit Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). For CY 2022, the performance category will be adjusted as follows:

  • 30% for the quality performance category
  • 30% for the cost performance category
  • 15% for the improvement activities performance category
  • 25% for the promoting interoperability performance category.

The minimum performance threshold will be raised to 75%, meaning many practices will have to take meaningful steps to participate in the program.

We anticipate that there will be continued hardship exemptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other uncontrollable circumstances. For example, for PALTC, many quality measures in the promoting interoperability category remain unattainable or not applicable.

The Society will provide more information as we analyze the rule further. We will also continue to advocate with CMS to ensure this program better represents quality of care in PALTC rather than a mere “check-the-box” program that is burdensome to PALTC clinicians.

The rule contains other important provisions related to e-prescribing and payment models. We will have a breakdown of these policies in future publications.

CMS is hosting a webinar this Wednesday, November 10, from 12:00–1:30 PM ET to provide an overview of the finalized policies for the 2022 performance year of the QPP. Learn more and register.

The text of the proposed rule can be accessed here.

Read the CMS press release.

Read the PFS fact sheet.

 Read the QPP fact sheet and related material.