CFA and Medicare

September 1, 2004

Will Medicare pay for services provided during surgery by certified first assistants?

Question: Will Medicare pay for services provided during surgery by certified first assistants?

Answer: No, Medicare will not cover services provided by certified first assistants (CFA). However, Medicare will pay for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists to serve as surgical first assists. To bill Medicare for these nonphysician providers, use the modifier -AS. There is no modifier for CFAs since they are not covered.

The reimbursement varies depending on your intermediary. Most Medicare carriers pay 50 percent of the allowable.