Medicare Seeks Nearly 10% Cut in Physician Payments
CMS on Monday proposed reducing Medicare physician payments by 9.9% in 2008, Dow Jones reports. However, acting CMS Administrator Leslie Norwalk in a statement noted, "For the past five years, Congress has intervened to prevent the implementation of the negative updates resulting from this formula" (Mantell, Dow Jones, 7/2).
Norwalk added that the agency will "continue working with Congress as well as physician groups to identify payment methods that help improve the quality and efficiency of care in a way that is cognizant of the costs to taxpayers and to Medicare and its beneficiaries."
CMS proposes changes to Medicare physician payments in accordance with a formula approved by Congress in 1998. Russ Miller, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Medical Association, said that the reimbursement formula "is broken" and does not take into account factors such as rising medical malpractice premiums that are making care more expensive.
The American Medical Association on Monday cited a recent survey that found 32% of its members said they would accept fewer new Medicare beneficiaries if reimbursements were cut by nearly 10%, and 28% of members said they would stop seeing Medicare beneficiaries altogether (Pack, Tennessean, 7/3).
A final rule will be published in the fall and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2008, barring congressional action (Dow Jones, 7/2).