Docs: Don’t be hasty

Groups eye re­view of Medi­care in­dex prior to changes

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Jen­nifer Lubell

Physi­cian groups want the CMS to con­duct a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of the Medi­care Eco­nomic In­dex—an in­fla­tion gauge used for Medi­care physi­cian re­im­burse­ment—be­fore mak­ing any changes to the in­dex as the CMS pro­posed ear­lier this year.

In com­ments to the agency last week, physi­cian groups wrote that the MEI could stand a tuneup but not with­out un­der­tak­ing an ex­haus­tive re­view of how it works and is used. The CMS rec­om­mended that it update the MEI in its June 25 pro­posed rule by up­dat­ing the in­dex to re­flect cur­rent costs (July 5, p. 10).

“The MEI is such a crit­i­cal part of physi­cian pay­ments, and CMS has made this pro­posal with­out a com­pre­hen­sive re­view by ex­perts and stake­hold­ers,” wrote Mary Pat­ton, se­nior spe­cial­ist in health­care af­fairs with the As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­can Med­i­cal Col­leges, in an e-mail. “We sup­port con­ven­ing a tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sory panel and be­lieve CMS should await their rec­om­men­da­tions be­fore en­gag­ing in rule-mak­ing,” Pat­ton wrote.

The MEI is a mea­sure of in­fla­tion that in­cludes a bun­dle of in­puts used in fur­nish­ing physi­cian ser­vices, such as a physi­cian’s own

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