The CMS should withdraw any changes it has proposed to Medicare's Economic Index until a comprehensive review of the MEI is completed, the American Medical Association stated in comments to the agency on the proposed physician fee schedule for 2011.
AMA calls for CMS to withdraw inflation proposal
The MEI is a measure of inflation used in tandem with the sustainable growth-rate index to set physician payments. The AMA has long requested that the agency revise the MEI, claiming the current formula is outdated and understates the growing gap between Medicare payments and the cost of caring for seniors.
While supportive of the CMS' plans to convene a technical panel later this year to review all aspects of the MEI, the AMA nevertheless said it was concerned by the agency's proposal to rebase the MEI before the panel has even begun its work.
Specifically, the AMA claims that the CMS' proposal to divide the MEI's “office expense” category into smaller subcategories was configured without any real justification. “These revisions do not do anything to improve the adequacy of the MEI,” the organization stated in its comments.
For these reasons, the AMA is urging the CMS to withdraw its proposal to rebase and revise the MEI next year, and instead develop a new MEI proposal after the panel conducts its review.
In other comments, the AMA said it supported the CMS' decision to reduce the reporting sample requirement in the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative to 50% from 80% for next year, as well as the CMS' proposed requirements for the 2011 electronic prescribing incentive payment or “eRX” program, which is to require reporting on only 25 services involving electronic prescriptions.
What it opposes is the CMS' proposal to impose financial penalties in 2012 and 2013 against physicians based on their e-prescribing activity during the first six months of 2011. Instead, the AMA is urging the CMS to review only 2012 and 2013 e-prescribing activity in order to assess penalties for these years.
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