The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission in its semi-annual report to Congress said Medicare should adopt pay-for-performance incentives for hospitals, home health agencies and doctors, and include the use of clinical information systems as a component of its quality measurements. In addition, MedPAC urged the CMS to track physicians' use of resources and provide doctors with the results in confidential reports as another step toward better quality healthcare. And, the congressional advisory panel said diagnostic-imaging providers and physicians who interpret the images should be required to prove they meet certain quality standards as a condition of Medicare participation. Congress is not obliged to accept MedPAC's recommendations.
The report formalized recommendations approved by commissioners in January. Those included the quality improvement steps as well as suggested fiscal 2006 Medicare updates -- inflation minus 0.4 percentage points for hospital inpatient and outpatient services and minus 0.8 percentage points for doctors, as previously reported. MedPAC recommended that nursing homes receive no inflation update. Read the report. -- by Tony Fong