The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services late today finalized a payment increase of 0.5% for the physician fee schedule for calendar year 2016, as required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. The rule also finalizes CMS’s proposal to pay for advanced care planning services, which include explanation and discussion of advance directives by a physician or other qualified health professional. “We are pleased that CMS is recognizing the important role that advanced care planning services play in encouraging Medicare providers and beneficiaries to discuss and communicate a beneficiary’s treatment preferences,” stated AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. Other proposals finalized in the rule include the use of star ratings on Physician Compare and the application of the value-based payment modifier to groups consisting of only non-physician eligible professionals, such as physician assistants. CMS did not finalize its proposal to require reporting of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey by group practices of 25-99 EPs, though it will require reporting by group practices of 100 or more EPs. The proposed rule will be published in the Nov. 16 Federal Register. AHA members will receive a Special Bulletin with further details.