On Nov. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, which finalizes the rank order of the clinical labor rates for histotechnologists and laboratory technicians.

According to the College of American Pathologists (CAP), which has advocated for this change, payments for the technical component of pathology services will now be more accurate in 2023. The fee schedule payment formula used a final 2023 conversion factor of $33.0607, which is a 4.5 percent decrease from the 2022 conversion factor.

The final 2023 fee schedule confirms changes to the histotechnologist’s clinical labor rate, which would be priced more than 21 percent higher in 2023 than in 2022. As the CAP explains, this change restores the proper rank order rates of a histotechnologist and a laboratory technician from the regulation in 2022.

“These specific changes advocated for by the CAP provide a more accurate payment for pathology services,” the CAP writes in its weekly Advocacy Update.

Also on Nov. 1, CMS published the final 2023 Quality Payment Program (QPP) regulation, which finalized changes to the traditional Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models. Pathologists reporting MIPS in 2023 could face Medicare payment penalties up to 9 percent if they fail to reach the scoring threshold of 75 points. In the final 2023 QPP regulations, the performance threshold remains at 75 points, but that score will be harder to reach because the worth of some measures has been reduced. The CAP says it is continuing to advocate for pathologists’ success in the MIPS program.

The CAP has prepared an impact table comparing the 2022 and 2023 relative value units. The CAP is also hosting a complimentary webinar on Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. ET for members to learn more about the final fee schedule changes and final QPP regulations. Registration is available on the CAP website.