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How Medicare Pays Physicians

Medicare pays physicians for services rendered to Medicare beneficiaries according to a fee schedule that was enacted when President George H.W. Bush signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989. The schedule took effect on Jan. 1, 1992, and is in force today, after a series of modifications over time.

This fee schedule contains about 7,000 distinct nonsurgical and physician services, classified under a nomenclature based on the Current Procedural Terminology to which the American Medical Association holds jealously guarded intellectual property rights.

Readers may find it a bit odd, as do I, that the nomenclature of a government fee schedule for physicians is privately owned...

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