Medicare physician payment changes: impact on physicians and beneficiaries. (1/17)

The Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 generally reduced Medicare payments for surgical services while increasing them for other services. Concern about implications of these fee reductions prompted the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to sponsor a national survey of physicians to learn their views on Medicare payment and whether access to care has changed for Medicare beneficiaries. Results suggest that beneficiaries' access to care has not declined. While physicians are concerned about Medicare reimbursement, they are more concerned about reimbursement from managed care plans and Medicaid. Continued monitoring will be important to detect any emerging access problems accompanying upcoming payment reductions.  (+info)

Shortcomings in Medicare bonus payments for physicians in underserved areas. (2/17)

This study examines trends in Medicare spending for basic payments and bonus payments for physician services provided to beneficiaries residing in nonmetropolitan counties. For our analysis, we used Medicare Part B physician/supplier claims data for 1992, 1994, 1996, and 1998. Payments under the congressionally mandated bonus payment program acccounted for less than 1 percent of expenditures for physician services in nonmetropolitan, underserved counties. Physician payments increased from 1992 to 1998, while bonus payments increased through 1996 but then declined by 13 percent by 1998. The share of bonus payments to primary care physicians declined throughout the decade, but the share for primary care services increased.  (+info)

TRICARE; changes included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003(NDAA-03). Final rule. (3/17)

This final addresses eliminating the requirement for TRICARE preauthorization of inpatient mental health care for TRICARE/Medicare eligible beneficiaries where Medicare is primary payer and has already authorized the care; approving a physician or other health care practitioner who is eligible to receive reimbursement for services provided under Medicare as a TRICARE provider if the provider is also a TRICARE authorized provider; and, expanding the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) eligibility for dependents of deceased members.  (+info)

Volume responses to exogenous changes in Medicare's payment policies. (4/17)

The purpose of this study is to obtain estimates of the "volume offset," which is the slippage in the costs or the savings that would, in the absence of behavioral responses, result from exogenous changes in Medicare's payment policies. An estimate of this offset is essential to accurate cost estimation for fee proposals under Medicare. Estimates are obtained using Medicare claims data from Colorado for 1976 and 1978, before and after implementation of an abrupt and substantial change in the way Medicare's fees were determined. Reliable estimates could be obtained only for two specialty groups-general practitioners and internists. For these physicians, the results indicate that about half of an initial drop in their Medicare receipts caused by a change in payment policy would be offset by an increase in their volume of services. For physicians whose receipts would increase because of the policy change, the best estimates indicate that about a third of their initial gain would be offset by a fall in the volume of services they provide. The difference in response between gaining and losing practices is not a statistically significant one, however. One could conclude from this study that--for both gaining and losing practices--changes in volume would offset about half of any initial change in receipts caused by a payment change.  (+info)

Clinic-based primary care of frail older patients in California. (5/17)

We surveyed medical directors of primary care clinics in California to learn how those clinics cared for their frail older patients. Of 143 questionnaires sent, 127 (89%) were returned. A median of 30% of all patient encounters were with persons aged 65 or older, and a median of 20% of older patients were considered frail. A total of 20% of the clinics routinely provided house calls to homebound elderly patients. Of clinics involved in training medical students of physicians (teaching clinics), 70% had at least one physician with an interest in geriatrics, compared with 42% of nonteaching clinics (P less than .005). For frail patients, 40% of the clinics routinely performed functional assessment, while 20% routinely did an interdisciplinary evaluation. Continuing education in geriatrics emerged as a significant independent correlate of both functional assessment and interdisciplinary evaluation. Among the 94 clinics with a standard appointment length for the history and physical examination, only 11 (12%) allotted more than 60 minutes for frail patients. The data suggest that certain geriatric approaches are being incorporated into clinic-based primary care in California but do not provide insight into their content or clinical effects.  (+info)

Medicare in interventional pain management: A critical analysis. (6/17)

Recent years have been quite eventful for interventional pain physicians with numerous changes in the Medicare payment system with a view for the future and what it holds for interventional pain management for 2006 and beyond. On February 8, 2006, President Bush signed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, which cuts the federal budget by 39 billion dollars and Medicare and Medicaid by almost 11 billion dollars over five years. The Act contains a number of important provisions that effect physicians in general and interventional pain physicians in particular. This Act provides one year, 0% conversion factor update in payments for physicians services in 2006. Medicare has four programs or parts, namely Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D, and two funds to pay providers for serving beneficiaries in each of these program. Part B helps pay for physician, outpatient hospital, home health, and other services for the aged and disabled who have voluntarily enrolled. Before 1922, the fees that Medicare paid for those services were largely based on physician's historical charges. Despite Congress's actions of freezing or limiting the fee increases, spending continued to rise because of increases in the volume and intensity of physician services. Medicare spending per beneficiary for physician services grew at an average annual rate of 11.6% from 1980 through 1991. Consequently Congress was forced to reform the way that Medicare sets physician fees, due to ineffectiveness of the fee controls and reductions. The sustained growth rate (SGR) system was established because of the concern that the fee schedule itself would not adequately constrain increases in spending for physicians' services. The law specifies a formula for calculating the SGR, based on changes in four factors: (1) estimated changes in fees; (2) estimated change in the average number of Part B enrollees (excluding Medicare Advantage beneficiaries); (3) estimated projected growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) growth per capita; and (4) estimated change in expenditures due to changes in law or regulation. Overall, the frequency of utilization of interventional procedures has increased substantially since 1998. In 2006 and beyond, interventionalists will face a number of evolving economic and policy-related issues, including reimbursement discrepancies, issues related to CPT coding, issues related to utilization, fraud, and abuse.  (+info)

Unhealthy trends: the future of physician services. (7/17)

In this paper we review current trends in payment systems, work settings, favored services, and accountability mechanisms that characterize physician practice. Current trends are pointing to higher spending, more tiering of access to care by ability to pay, and a greater role for larger practices that include both primary care and specialist physicians. Medicare's purchasing role is policymakers' most powerful lever to alter negative trends. Making fee-for-service payment more accurately reflect cost structures could immediately address some of these issues. Medicare can lead longer-term efforts to incorporate more per episode and capitated elements into the payment system, revamping incentives for physicians.  (+info)

Medicare program; appeals of CMS or CMS contractor determinations when a provider or supplier fails to meet the requirements for Medicare billing privileges. Final rule. (8/17)

This final rule implements a number of regulatory provisions that are applicable to all providers and suppliers, including durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) suppliers. This final rule establishes appeals processes for all providers and suppliers whose enrollment, reenrollment or revalidation application for Medicare billing privileges is denied and whose Medicare billing privileges are revoked. It also establishes timeframes for deciding enrollment appeals by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or the Departmental Appeals Board (DAB), or Board, within the DHHS; and processing timeframes for CMS' Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) contractors. In addition, this final rule allows Medicare FFS contractors to revoke Medicare billing privileges when a provider or supplier submits a claim or claims for services that could not have been furnished to a beneficiary. This final rule also specifies that a Medicare contractor may establish a Medicare enrollment bar for any provider or supplier whose billing privileges have been revoked. Lastly, the final rule requires that all providers and suppliers receive Medicare payments by electronic funds transfer (EFT) if the provider or supplier, is submitting an initial enrollment application to Medicare, changing their enrollment information, revalidating or re-enrolling in the Medicare program.  (+info)