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Highlights

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed anesthesia times that physicians reported to Medicare to verify their accuracy.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services 1. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator, Health Care Financing Administration, to establish a fee schedule for reimbursing physician anesthesia services that eliminates the direct link between anesthesia time and payment for anesthesia services.
Closed - Not Implemented
HHS agreed with the recommendation. The Administration has proposed that the law be amended to pay for anesthesia, pathology, and radiology physician services as a bundle, with rates based on average payments. Because of congressional opposition, HHS action to eliminate actual time from the computation of anesthesia payment amounts has been postponed. The Congress has not indicated that a change in policy is likely to occur.

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