Docs: Don’t be hasty
Groups eye review of Medicare index prior to changes
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