CMS Finalizes Rule To Reduce Medicare Physician Payments

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Medicare Physician Payments

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CMS last week announced final rules for Medicare outpatient hospital care and physician reimbursements. Summaries appear below.

  • Outpatienthospital care: CMS late last week announced a final rule that willincrease Medicare outpatient hospital care reimbursements by 3.8% in2008, CQ HealthBeatreports. However, overall Medicare expenditures for outpatient hospitalcare will increase by 10% in 2008, to $36 billion from $32.7 billion,because of the increased volume and complexity of services, CMS said.Under the rule, hospitals will have to report data on the sevenoutpatient care quality measures or have their reimbursements for suchservices reduced by 2% in 2009. The rule also will combine multipleoutpatient services under a single reimbursement rate through"packaging" or "bundling" to prompt hospitals to provide such care moreefficiently (Reichard [1], CQ HealthBeat, 11/2).
  • Physicians:CMS late Thursday announced a final rule that will reduce Medicarephysician reimbursements by 10.1% on Jan. 1, 2008, unless Congress actsto reverse the reductions, CQ HealthBeat reports. Underthe rule, Medicare will pay $58.9 billion to about 900,000 physiciansin 2008. CMS officials said that the agency "has no choice but toimplement" the rule under current law (Reichard [2], CQ HealthBeat, 11/2).

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