This issue of FPM features our annual review of changes resulting from the new Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. In addition to the usual spate of code changes and payment updates, the final rule for 2019 also described several changes designed to lessen the burden of documenting evaluation and management services, including these:
For an established patient's history and exam, physicians may note what has changed since the last visit or pertinent items that have not changed, rather than re-documenting a defined list of required elements,
For new or established patients, physicians no longer must re-enter information in the medical record regarding the chief complaint and history (including the history of present illness) that ancillary staff or the patient has already entered.
More significant documentation changes were delayed to 2021, including further relaxing of documentation requirements and a blended payment rate for some office visits — developments we will be following closely.
The new year brings changes to FPM as well. This issue is Dr. Ken Adler's last as our medical editor. His understanding of the challenges family physicians face and his insight into solutions have helped FPM to deliver the practical, actionable content that makes the journal unique. Ken was an FPM author and peer reviewer for many years before his tenure as medical editor began in 2013, and we look forward to continuing our association with him for years to come.
Recruitment is underway for our next medical editor, whom we hope to introduce in the next issue.