College of American Pathologists
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Pap test computer error

February 2003

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The CAP has learned that the 129 percent increase in the Medicare Pap test interpretation relative value published in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' 2003 physician fee schedule final rule resulted from a computer error.

The new value of 1.42 will revert to the 2002 value of 0.62 this spring, when the agency issues its first quarterly update to the fee schedule. When fee schedule errors have been corrected previously, CMS has made no attempt to recoup higher payments made erroneously and has reprocessed only those claims brought to its attention by health care providers. Absent congressional action, the 2003 relative values begin March 1 for claims processed on or after that date, regardless of the date of service.