(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) Base unit means the value for each anesthesia code that reflects all activities other than anesthesia time. These activities include usual preoperative and postoperative visits, the administration of fluids and blood incident to anesthesia care, and monitoring services.
(2) Anesthesia practitioner, for the purpose of anesthesia time, means a physician who performs the anesthesia service alone, a CRNA who is not medically directed who performs the anesthesia service alone, or a medically directed CRNA.
(3) Anesthesia time means the time during which an anesthesia practitioner is present with the patient. It starts when the anesthesia practitioner begins to prepare the patient for anesthesia services and ends when the anesthesia practitioner is no longer furnishing anesthesia services to the beneficiary, that is, when the beneficiary may be placed safely under postoperative care. Anesthesia time is a continuous time period from the start of anesthesia to the end of an anesthesia service. In counting anesthesia time, the anesthesia practitioner can add blocks of anesthesia time around an interruption in anesthesia time as long as the anesthesia practitioner is furnishing continuous anesthesia care within the time periods around the interruption.
(b) Determinations of payment amount - Basic rule. For anesthesia services performed, medically directed, or medically supervised by a physician, CMS pays the lesser of the actual charge or the anesthesia fee schedule amount.
(1) The carrier bases the fee schedule amount for an anesthesia service on the product of the sum of allowable base and time units and an anesthesia-specific CF. The carrier calculates the time units from the anesthesia time reported by the anesthesia practitioner for the anesthesia procedure. The physician who fulfills the conditions for medical direction in § 415.110 (Conditions for payment: Anesthesiology services) reports the same anesthesia time as the medically-directed CRNA.
(2) CMS furnishes the carrier with the base units for each anesthesia procedure code. The base units are derived from the 1988 American Society of Anesthesiologists' Relative Value Guide except that the number of base units recognized for anesthesia services furnished during cataract or iridectomy surgery is four units.
(3) Modifier units are not allowed. Modifier units include additional units charged by a physician or a CRNA for patient health status, risk, age, or unusual circumstances.
(c) Physician personally performs the anesthesia procedure.
(1) CMS considers an anesthesia service to be personally performed under any of the following circumstances:
(i) The physician performs the entire anesthesia service alone.
(ii) The physician establishes an attending physician relationship in one or two concurrent cases involving an intern or resident and the service was furnished before January 1, 1994.
(iii) The physician establishes an attending physician relationship in one case involving an intern or resident and the service was furnished on or after January 1, 1994 but prior to January 1, 1996. For services on or after January 1, 1996, the physician must be the teaching physician as defined in §§ 415.170 through 415.184 of this chapter.
(iv) The physician and the CRNA or AA are involved in a single case and the services of each are found to be medically necessary.
(v) The physician is continuously involved in a single case involving a student nurse anesthetist.
(vi) The physician is continuously involved in a single case involving a CRNA or AA and the service was furnished prior to January 1, 1998.
(2) CMS determines the fee schedule amount for an anesthesia service personally performed by a physician on the basis of an anesthesia-specific fee schedule CF and unreduced base units and anesthesia time units. One anesthesia time unit is equivalent to 15 minutes of anesthesia time, and fractions of a 15-minute period are recognized as fractions of an anesthesia time unit.
(d) Anesthesia services medically directed by a physician.
(1) CMS considers an anesthesia service to be medically directed by a physician if:
(i) The physician performs the activities described in § 415.110 of this chapter.
(ii) The physician directs qualified individuals involved in two, three, or four concurrent cases.
(iii) Medical direction can occur for a single case furnished on or after January 1, 1998 if the physician performs the activities described in § 415.110 of this chapter and medically directs a single CRNA or AA.
(2) The rules for medical direction differ for certain time periods depending on the nature of the qualified individual who is directed by the physician.
(i) If more than two procedures are directed on or after January 1, 1994, the qualified individuals could be AAs, CRNAs, interns, or residents. The medical direction rules apply to student nurse anesthetists only if the physician directs two concurrent cases, each of which involves a student nurse anesthetist or the physician directs one case involving a student nurse anesthetist and the other involving a CRNA, AA, intern, or resident.
(ii) For services furnished on or after January 1, 2010, the medical direction rules do not apply to a single anesthesia resident case that is concurrent to another case which is paid under the medical direction payment rules as specified in paragraph (e) of this section.
(3) Payment for medical direction is based on a specific percentage of the payment allowance recognized for the anesthesia service personally performed by a physician alone. The following percentages apply for the years specified:
(i) CY 1994 - 60 percent of the payment allowance for personally performed procedures.
(ii) CY 1995 - 57.5 percent of the payment allowance for personally performed services.
(iii) CY 1996 - 55 percent of the payment allowance for personally performed services.
(iv) CY 1997 - 52.5 percent of the payment allowance for personally performed services.
(v) CY 1998 and thereafter - 50 percent of the payment allowance for personally performed services.
(e) Special payment rule for teaching anesthesiologist involved in a single resident case or two concurrent cases. For physicians' services furnished on or after January 1, 2010, if the teaching anesthesiologist is involved in the training of physician residents in a single anesthesia case or two concurrent anesthesia cases, the fee schedule amount must be 100 percent of the fee schedule amount otherwise applicable if the anesthesia services were personally performed by the teaching anesthesiologist and the teaching anesthesiologist fulfilled the criteria in § 415.178 of this chapter. This special payment rule also applies if the teaching anesthesiologist is involved in one resident case that is concurrent to another case paid under the medical direction payment rules.
(f) Physician medically supervises anesthesia services. If the physician medically supervises more than four concurrent anesthesia services, CMS bases the fee schedule amount on an anesthesia-specific CF and three base units. This represents payment for the physician's involvement in the pre-surgical anesthesia services.
(g) Payment for medical or surgical services furnished by a physician while furnishing anesthesia services.
(1) CMS allows separate payment under the fee schedule for certain reasonable and medically necessary medical or surgical services furnished by a physician while furnishing anesthesia services to the patient. CMS makes payment for these services in accordance with the general physician fee schedule rules in § 414.20. These services are described in program operating instructions.
(2) CMS makes no separate payment for other medical or surgical services, such as the pre-anesthetic examination of the patient, pre- or post-operative visits, or usual monitoring functions, that are ordinarily included in the anesthesia service.
(h) Physician involved in multiple anesthesia services. If the physician is involved in multiple anesthesia services for the same patient during the same operative session, the carrier makes payment according to the base unit associated with the anesthesia service having the highest base unit value and anesthesia time that encompasses the multiple services. The carrier makes payment for add-on anesthesia codes according to program operating instructions.
[56 FR 59624, Nov. 25, 1991, as amended at 57 FR 42492, Sept. 15, 1992; 58 FR 63687, Dec. 2, 1993; 60 FR 63177, Dec. 8, 1995; 64 FR 59441, Nov. 2, 1999; 67 FR 80041, Dec. 31, 2002; 68 FR 63261, Nov. 7, 2003; 74 FR 62006, Nov. 25, 2009]