The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has called on Congress to update payments for physician services by 1.1% in 2010.
Commissioners then re-voted on a recommendation they made in June 2008 to establish a budget-neutral payment adjustment for primary-care services billed under the physician fee schedule and furnished by primary-care focused practitioners.
The commission also approved language that would essentially redistribute relative value units for expensive imaging services to other physician services under Medicare. All of the commissions payment update recommendations for 2010 are scheduled to appear in MedPACs March report to Congress.
In other measures, MedPAC voted to increase payment rates for inpatient and outpatient hospital services at the full rate of inflation in 2010 concurrent with the implementation of a quality incentives program.
MedPACs recommendation didnt provide a specific increase for hospitals, although the projected marketbasket update in 2010 for hospitals is expected to be 2.7%, according to MedPAC staff.
Commission Chairman Glenn Hackbarth clarified that the payment recommendation reflects the full marketbasket update minus what goes into pay for performance. In other words, hospitals will have to perform well on quality measures to get the full update, he said.
The commission also made a recommendation to reduce the indirect medical education adjustment by 1 percentage point to help finance the quality incentives program for hospitals. According to MedPAC staff, this adjustment would provide roughly $1 billion for pay-for-performance measures.