Providers applauded the payment boosts in Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus Medicare reform bill, but thought more could have been done on quality measures.
The bill includes many important provisions to help hospitals better serve patients, particularly in vulnerable rural areas, Blair Childs, senior vice president of public affairs with the Premier healthcare alliance, said in a written statement. However, Childs said he hoped eventually to see the inclusion of a well-designed Medicare hospital value-based purchasing program. We also anticipate seeing provisions addressing quality incentives in any future bipartisan compromise moving forward.
Various physician groups supported Baucus effort to halt a 10% cut to physician reimbursement in July and increase payments by 1.1% in 2009, along with its provisions to increase the bonus payment for the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, and to extend the program.
James King, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, specifically hailed the provisions that would offer more support to rural healthcare providers, and expand authority for the CMS Medical Home Demonstration Project. Patient-centered medical homes would more effectively coordinate patient care and dramatically reduce fragmentation of care, duplication of services and patient confusion, King said in a written statement. (For a longer version of this story, please click here.) -- by Jennifer Lubell