CMA: Votes To Oppose New Medicare Guidelines
The California Medical Association Board of Trustees has voted to oppose implementation of the 1998 Medicare Documentation Guidelines for Evaluation and Management Services. The new regulations, which are used to document Medicaid patients' doctor visits, are scheduled to take effect on July 1. Dr. Melvyn Sterling, the chair of CMA's special guideline reform committee, said, "The new guidelines turn individual care into cookbook care where physicians are told to treat each patient by following a set of instructions." CMA Executive Vice President Dr. Jack Lewin said, "What these new guidelines mean is that instead of physicians being focused on their patients, they will have to focus on filling out forms instead." In addition, Lewin said that the additional paperwork associated with the forms may make Medicare patients too expensive for doctors to treat. He said that some physicians who have attempted to follow the new rules have found that it takes more time to fill out the paperwork than to treat the patient in the first place. The CMA said it is committed to working with medical specialty societies, the American Medical Association and provider and consumer organizations to define what constitutes appropriate documentation of the care for Medicare patients. In addition, CMA said that it will work with California federal legislators to urge the government to correct the regulations (CMA release, 1/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.