House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee holds hearing on how to reform Medicare physician payment system
Posted on July 30, 2012 | No Comments
House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee held a a hearing at 1o a.m. on July 24, 2012 in the Longworth House Office Building to explore physician organization efforts to promote high quality patient care. The goal of the hearing was to inform Subcommittee members regarding how to reform the Medicare physician payment system. The Subcommittee heard from organizations representing the physicians at the forefront of patient care.
Physicians told the House panel that a new physician Medicare reimbursement system should provide incentives for doctors to provide quality care and the flexibility to adapt to different medical specialties and approaches.
The six physician groups present at the hearing offered a plethora of ideas regarding how the new Medicare physician payment system should be established. They all agreed, however, that the goal of the new system should be to improve the quality of care and move away from the fee-for-service system in place.
Unless Congress acts, physicians’ Medicare reimbursement will be reduced about 30 percent at the start of 2013. Several hearings have been held over the past few months in the House and Senate, as lawmakers work to create a solution to the issue.
For links to the physician group testimonies, click here.
- Private entities generally measure performance and make incentive payments at the physician-group level rather than at the individual-physician level. Physician organizations favor this approach.
- Private entities use nationally endorsed performance metrics and noted the need for a standardized set of metrics across all payers. Physician organizations concur that a standardized set of metrics would be less administratively complex.
- Most private entities in GAO's study provide financial incentives tied to meeting absolute benchmarks--fixed performance targets--or a combination of absolute benchmarks and performance improvement. Physician organizations prefer incentives tied to absolute benchmarks over those based on how physicians perform relative to their peers. Physician organizations also favored incentives that reward improvement because baseline levels of performance vary.
- While private entities' incentive payments vary in size and in method, private entities typically provide such payments within 7 months of the end of the performance measurement period. Physician organizations stated that financial incentives should be distributed soon after the measurement period to have the greatest effect on performance.