CMS Adds New Pricing Resource to WCMSA Reference Guide

October 14, 2020

stethescope on a Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangements

In a recent update to its WCMSA Reference Guide, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a state-by-state list of the major medical centers it uses for pricing future medical expenses in proposed MSAs.  This zip code-based list (See Appendix 7 of the guide) will help MSA preparers and submitters more accurately price surgical procedures, including spinal cord stimulators and intrathecal pumps, per CMS requirements.


From the reference guide:

Hospital fee schedules are currently determined using the Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRG) payment for the median major medical center within the appropriate fee jurisdiction for the pricing ZIP code, unless otherwise defined by state law (see Appendix 7).

While that sounds good, until this update, no one but CMS and the Workers’ Compensation Review Center (WCRC), which reviews submitted MSAs for CMS, knew for certain the major medical center. 

Nonetheless, Tower’s experienced clinical team has historically been successful in identifying appropriate facility pricing, thus avoiding significant variances between the proposed surgical pricing and the CMS calculation. The release of the list removes any remaining uncertainty.

Practical Implications

The list of major medical centers should eliminate one area of variances in surgical pricing. (Variances can still occur based upon differences in the type of surgery allocated or the components of the allocated surgery.)  In short, it should lead to more accurate pricing surgical procedures in proposed MSAs and reduce MSA counter-highers.

The list of major medical centers has been published as part of the reference guide and also within the Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Portal (WCMSAP).

As a member of the National Alliance of Medicare Set-Aside Professionals, now the National MSP Network (MSPN), Tower has consistently advocated for the release of this list.  We appreciate the efforts of MSPN leadership to pursue this with CMS management. 

A big thank you to Steve Forry and John Jenkins at the CMS Division of MSP Program Operations and to the WCRC for their work to assemble and release this information for public use.

If you have any questions, please contact Dan Anders, Chief Compliance Officer, at or 888.331.4941.