View all text of Subpart B [§ 415.50 - § 415.70]

§ 415.70 - Limits on compensation for physician services in providers.

(a) Principle and scope. (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this section, CMS establishes reasonable compensation equivalency limits on the amount of compensation paid to physicians by providers. These limits are applied to a provider's costs incurred in compensating physicians for services to the provider, as described in § 415.55(a).

(2) Limits established under this section do not apply to costs of physician compensation attributable to furnishing inpatient hospital services that are paid for under the prospective payment system implemented under part 412 of this chapter or to costs of physician compensation attributable to approved GME programs that are payable under §§ 413.75 through 413.83 of this chapter.

(3) Compensation that a physician receives for activities that may not be paid for under either Part A or Part B of Medicare is not considered in applying these limits.

(b) Methodology for establishing limits. (1) For cost reporting periods beginning before January 1, 2015. CMS establishes a methodology for determining annual reasonable compensation equivalency limits and, to the extent possible, considers average physician incomes by specialty and type of location using the best available data.

(2) For cost reporting periods beginning on or after January 1, 2015. CMS establishes a methodology for determining annual reasonable compensation equivalency limits and, to the extent possible, considers average physician incomes by specialty using the best available data.

(c) Application of limits. If the level of compensation exceeds the limits established under paragraph (b) of this section, Medicare payment is based on the level established by the limits.

(d) Adjustment of the limits. The intermediary may adjust limits established under paragraph (b) of this section to account for costs incurred by the physician or the provider related to malpractice insurance, professional memberships, and continuing medical education.

(1) For the costs of membership in professional societies and continuing medical education, the intermediary may adjust the limit by the lesser of -

(i) The actual cost incurred by the provider or the physician for these activities; or

(ii) Five percent of the appropriate limit.

(2) For the cost of malpractice expenses incurred by either the provider or the physician, the intermediary may adjust the reasonable compensation equivalency limit by the cost of the malpractice insurance expense related to the physician service furnished to patients in providers.

(e) Exception to limits. An intermediary may grant a provider an exception to the limits established under paragraph (b) of this section only if the provider can demonstrate to the intermediary that it is unable to recruit or maintain an adequate number of physicians at a compensation level within these limits.

(f) Notification of changes in methodologies and payment limits. (1) Before the start of a cost reporting period to which limits established under this section will be applied, CMS publishes a notice in the Federal Register that sets forth the amount of the limits and explains how it calculated the limits.

(2) If CMS proposes to revise the methodology for establishing payment limits under this section, CMS publishes a notice, with opportunity for public comment, in the Federal Register. The notice explains the proposed basis and methodology for setting limits, specifies the limits that would result, and states the date of implementation of the limits.

(3) If CMS updates limits by applying the most recent economic index data without revising the limit methodology, CMS publishes the revised limits in a notice in the Federal Register without prior publication of a proposal or public comment period.

[60 FR 63178, Dec. 8, 1995, as amended at 70 FR 47490, Aug. 12, 2005; 79 FR 50358, Aug. 22, 2014]