Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) in his forthcoming Medicare reform bill plans to offer a number of bonus payment options for physicians as well as increased payments in 2009, said physician sources that attended a meeting with Democratic staff from the Senate Finance Committee.
Baucus, who chairs the panel, will propose halting a 10% cut to payments for more than 18 months, maintaining payments at current levels for the rest of the year and seeking a 0.5% increase next year, according to Kevin Burke, director of government relations with the
American Academy of Family Physicians.
In addition, Baucus wants to increase the bonus physicians receive for participating in the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative to 2% from 1.5%. The bill would also include an electronic prescribing provision that would offer bonuses starting in 2009 to doctors who install the technology, but in 2011 would start incurring penalties of 1% that gradually increase to 2% in 2013 and beyond for those who dont adopt an e-prescribing system.
The AAFP, American College of Physicians and American Osteopathic Association were among the groups that participated in the meeting. Various reports indicate the bill may be introduced as early as this week, with a goal to get the bill to the Senate floor by the second week of June. -- by Jennifer Lubell