Payment increases planned for primary-care, family physicians
The CMS intends to make a slew of changes to the physician-fee schedule for 2013, including a 7% payment increase for family physicians and smaller increases for other primary-care doctors. The pay hike for family physicians comes from a plan to reimburse such providers separately for providing successful followup care after a patient’s hospital or nursing-home stay, the CMS said. “Helping primary-care doctors will help improve patient care and lower healthcare costs long term,” CMS acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a news release about the proposed rule. The regulations also would make a number of changes related to physician quality reporting. First, the agency provided some clarification of the physician value-based payment modifier, which adjusts payments based on performance and cost of care. For 2015, the first year that the modifier will be in use, the CMS proposed limiting its application to groups with 25 or more physicians. Groups that are not participating in the physician quality reporting system could opt to set their value-based payment modifier at a flat 1% reduction, rather than at a variable rate based on quality, the CMS said. The proposed rule also includes changes to the CMS’ electronic prescribing incentive program and its Medicare electronic health-records incentive pilot program.