As part of its final 2010 ruling on the physician fee schedule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has initiated a plan to phase out the current limitation on payment for outpatient mental health treatment. This transition is set to take place over a five-year period from 2010 to 2014, and means that Medicare will pay outpatient mental health services at the same rate as other services by 2014. Both neurologists and their patients will benefit from the provision, which applies to all psychiatric conditions listed within the range of 290–319 in the ICD-9 code book.
The announcement comes as a result of a mandate in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) enacted by Congress and is not new CMS policy. The implementation timeline, as laid out by CMS, is as follows: