Physicians will receive a 1.1% increase to their Medicare payments in 2009 under a final rule issued by the CMS.
The update reflects a provision included in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, which halted a 10.6% pay cut scheduled for July 1, providing doctors with a 0.5% payment bump for the remainder of 2008.
The 1.1% increase begins on Jan. 1, 2009.
In other provisions, the final rule establishes a new incentives program for eligible providers that adopt and use qualified electronic e-prescribing systems to transmit prescriptions to pharmacies. Physicians who successfully report under the new e-prescribing program and the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative could receive an overall payment boost of up to 5.1% in 2009.
The rule also includes changes to payment rates for end-stage renal disease facilities and adjusts enrollment and billing rules. -- by Jennifer Lubell