Medicare May Up Docs' Pay

A Medicare card, with several areas of the card obscured to protect privacy. There are separate lines for Part A and Part B, each with its own date. There are no lines for Part C or D, as a separate card is issued for those benefits by the private insurance company.


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule on July 6th that would increase payments to family physicians by approximately 7 percent and other practitioners providing primary care services between 3 and 5 percent. 

According to a release from CMS, the increase in payment to family practitioners is part of a proposal that would update payment policies and rates under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2013. Medicare pays more than 1 million physicians and nonphysician practitioners that provide vital health services to Medicare beneficiaries. “Helping primary care doctors will help improve patient care and lower health care costs long term,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn B. Tavenner. 

The 7 percent increase for family physicians is part of a  proposal that continues the Administration’s policies to promote high quality, patient-centered care. For example, CMS is proposing for the first time to pay for the care necessary to help a patient transition back to the community following a discharge from a hospital or nursing facility. CMS would make a separate payment to a patient’s community physician or practitioner to coordinate the patient’s care in the 30 days following a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay. 

The proposed rule will appear in the July 30, 2012 Federal Register. CMS will accept comments until Sep. 04, 2012 and will respond to them in a final rule with comment period to be issued by Nov. 1, 2012.


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