Doctors would receive a 1% increase in their Medicare payment rates for 2012 under recommendations issued Tuesday by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
MedPAC urges 1% pay bump for doctors
MedPac's recommendation was based on the commission's conclusion that "access to physician and other health professional services is good nationally" but some Medicare beneficiaries have problems finding a new primary-care physician.
MedPAC also recommended a 1% payment-rate increase for hospitals for both inpatient and outpatient services.
The commission had considered a recommended hospital payment update of 2.5% but reduced it as part of an effort to recoup what MedPAC members view as likely past overpayments stemming from "severity–diagnosis related groups" in 2008, according to its annual report to Congress. The commissioners warned that additional cuts in future payments are needed because of other overpayments.
For home healthcare services, the panel recommended no increase in 2012 and a two-year "rebasing" of home health rates beginning in 2013. The recommendations followed the commission's significant focus on home health providers over the past year.
Similarly, the commission recommended no increase for long-term-care hospitals or skilled-nursing facilities in 2012. The commission recommended an increase of 0.5% for ambulatory surgical center payments in 2012, along with a requirement that they submit cost and quality data.
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