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2007 to 2021 Saw Dermatologic Procedure Reimbursement Down

Reimbursement varied by procedure types, with increases for skin biopsy and shave removal, decreases for Mohs micrographic surgery

By Physician’s Briefing Staff | September 15, 2021

Rishabh S. Mazmudar, from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study using reimbursement data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Physician Fee Schedule for commonly used dermatologic codes from 2007 to 2021 to identify trends in reimbursement for 46 common procedures.

The researchers found that after adjusting for inflation, there was a mean decrease of −4.8 percent in dermatologic procedure reimbursement from 2007 to 2021. During this time period, there was significant variation observed in mean inflation-adjusted changes in reimbursement by procedure type, including increases of 30.3 and 24.5 percent for skin biopsy and shave removal, respectively, and decreases of −7.5, −14.4, −3.9, −9.9, −14.1, −12.0, and −6.6 percent for benign/premalignant/malignant destruction, Mohs micrographic surgery, benign/malignant excision, simple/intermediate/complex repair, flap repair, graft repair, and laser/phototherapy, respectively. There was no variation seen in changes in reimbursement by anatomical risk categories.

"This cross-sectional study of 2007 to 2021 Medicare fee schedules demonstrated a mean decrease in reimbursement for common dermatologic procedures, with variation by procedure category," the authors write. "Sustainable reimbursement policies are necessary to ensure equitable access to quality dermatologic care."

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