Hospital Medicine Recognition & the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services

Hospital Medicine CMSIn a recent landmark decision, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it has developed a code recognizing Hospital Medicine as its own specialty area. This has far reaching implications because, for the first time, hospitalists will have the opportunity to benchmark their data against national averages using standardized data rather than being grouped together with primary care physicians. Moreover, the decision by the CMS to recognize hospital medicine as a specialty further validates hospitalists and speaks to how essential Hospital Medicine has become in the 21st century, something the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) recognized by developing the American Board of Hospital Medicine® (ABHM).

Prior to the CMS decision, hospitalists were forced to use billing codes that were assigned to Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, or other similar specialty. The issue here is that CMS uses these specialty codes to help determine best practices for reimbursement, and one of the key variables considered has to do with the cost of services provided. When compared to outpatient services provided by a family medicine physician, for example, the inpatient treatments provided by hospitalists are extremely expensive. By developing a specialty code for Hospitalists, these hospital-trained physicians will now be compared to one another and on an equal footing. Addressing the false equivalency was absolutely essential, and this represents a significant win for the industry.

At the ABHM, we were extremely pleased by the CMS decision not only because it’s great for Hospital Medicine, but also because it is a clear indicator to the medical community at large as to the value of the specialty. Hospital medicine is one of the most rapidly growing, highly sought after specialties in North American healthcare, and is rapidly improving the quality and efficiency of treatment provided in hospital settings.

To learn more about Hospital Medicine, or if you are interested in pursuing board certification in the specialty, contact us today. We’ll be glad to explain the eligibility requirements for pursuing certification and walk you through the many benefits to joining our community of hospitalists. The ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®

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