Title 42, Part 405 of the Code of Federal Regulations outlines the guidelines and requirements for physicians and/or non-physician practitioners who wish to enter into private contracts (opt out).
These regulations permit a physician or practitioner to opt out of Medicare and enter into private contracts with Medicare beneficiaries, if specific requirements of these instructions are met.
Definition of physician or practitioner
For purposes of this provision, the term “physician” is limited to doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy who are legally authorized to practice medicine and surgery by the state in which such function or action is performed; no other physicians may opt out.
Also, for purposes of this provision, the term “practitioner” means any of the following to the extent that they are legally authorized to practice by the State and otherwise meet Medicare requirements:
- Physician assistant
- Nurse practitioner
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist
- Certified nurse midwife
- Clinical psychologist
- Clinical social worker
- Registered dietitian
- Nutrition professional
The opt-out law does not define “physician” to include chiropractors; therefore, they may not opt out of Medicare and provide services under private contract.
Physical therapists in independent practice and occupational therapists in independent practice cannot opt out because they are not within the opt-out law’s definition of either a “physician” or “practitioner.”