MedPAC Seeks Reimbursement Increase

The Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) has proposed that Congress raise physician payment rates for both hospital inpatient and outpatient services by one percent next year.   The independent advisory agency has also asked Congress to require the Secretary of Health and Human Resources (HHS) to adjust future payment rates to recover all over-payments resulting from documentation and coding enhancements.  Office visits, surgical procedures and therapeutic services will be covered, according to MedPAC policy analyst Cristina Boccuti.  Boccuti emphasized the “mounting frustration” from patients and providers, thanks to temporary fixes and coming reductions to the sustainable growth rate payment formula.

The Premier healthcare alliance commends the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission for its recommendation of a full market-basket update for inpatient and outpatient Medicare payments,” said Blair Childs, Premier senior vice president of Public Affairs, a performance improvement alliance of more than 2,400 U.S. hospitals and 72,000-plus other healthcare sites using the power of collaboration to lead the transformation to high quality, cost-effective care.   “Such a recommendation signals to Congress that flat reductions in payment, rather than savings generated from delivery system reform, are imprudent given the poor state of the national economy.  MedPAC estimates that Medicare reimbursements are nearly six percent below cost, and a full market basket update is a minimum step required to ensure the continued patient access to non-profit hospitals.  Congress should consider these realities as it finalizes the historic healthcare reform legislation.”

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