The CMS said physicians are scheduled to receive a 5.1% Medicare rate cut in 2007 under current law, and the agency proposed regulations that would require hospital outpatient departments to report quality measures in order to receive a full Medicare update. The CMS also issued its final report on specialty hospitals, saying it will fine such hospitals $10,000 per day if they fail to report their financial structure to the federal government. It also will require specialty hospitals to disclose to patients their financial relationships with physicians, and to treat all emergency cases regardless of patients' ability to pay. The final report was issued as the CMS allowed a federal moratorium on Medicare payments to new specialty hospitals to lapse today.
Medicare will spend roughly $61.5 billion on physician services in 2007, under the proposed physician fee schedule. The proposed regulation also will expand coverage of preventive services. The CMS said it initially plans to require hospital outpatient departments to report on the same set of quality measures it currently requires of hospitals. In other proposed regulations, the CMS said it will add 14 Medicare-approved procedures for ambulatory surgical centers in 2007 and expand the list further in 2008.