In a proposed rule released late Friday (PDF)
, the CMS included a slew of potential 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 proposed pay hike for family physicians comes from a plan to reimburse such providers separately for providing successful follow-up 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
The CMS also proposed 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 the modifier's application to groups with 25 or more physicians.
Additionally, 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 the Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Pilot Program.