Medicare To Pay Physicians To Provide Care Coordination Services
Medicare in January 2015 plans to begin paying physicians a monthly fee to coordinate the care of beneficiaries with chronic diseases, in an effort to improve continuity of care, the New York Times reports.
For each beneficiary with two or more chronic conditions -- such as heart disease, diabetes or depression -- who signs up, physicians will receive $42 per month.
Physicians who receive the fee must develop a comprehensive plan for each participating patient's care. Physicians also must:
- Assess patients' medical, psychological and social needs;
- Ensure patients take their medications;
- Monitor care given by other doctors; and
- Arrange for smooth transitions when patients move between different care facilities.
In addition, Medicare will require the physicians to start using electronic health records to better exchange information with all care providers involved with a patient.
Participating patients must have access to doctors and other health professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help tend to "urgent chronic care needs." Care management services can be provided by nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other qualified health care providers.
Previously, physicians provided such services but had not been paid for it, according to the Times. The initiative is being implemented amid growing evidence that poor coordination can cause medical errors and disjointed care (Pear, New York Times, 8/16).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.