Under a proposed rule issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), family physicians would get a seven percent pay increase, and other primary care practitioners would see payments rise between three percent and five percent in 2013.
The increase in payment to family practitioners is part of the proposed rule that would update payment policies and rates under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) for 2013. Under the MPFS, Medicare pays more than 1 million physicians and non-physician practitioners that provide vital health services to Medicare beneficiaries. CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said, “Helping primary care doctors will help improve patient care and lower healthcare costs long term.”
For the first time, CMS is proposing to explicitly pay for the care required to help a patient adjust back to the community once discharged from a hospital or nursing facility. The proposal calls for CMS to make a separate payment to a patient’s community physician or practitioner to coordinate that patient’s care in the first 30 days following a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay.
Suggestions from the public are also being sought about how to improve Medicare services that are provided by community physicians and practitioners to treat patients either face-to-face in a doctor’s office or through coordinating care outside the office when the patient does not see a doctor.
The proposed MPFS will be published in the Federal Register on July 30. The CMS will accept comments on the proposal until September 4, and will issue a final fee schedule by November 1, 2012. The proposal explains the various ways in which comments can be submitted.
The CMS also issued two other proposals that would increase Medicare payments to home health care agencies by 0.1 percent, to hospital outpatient departments by 2.1 percent, and to surgery centers by 1.3 percent in 2013.