Medicare payment reforms need to be based on more than geography, IOM says

Share this article:

States should allow a broader scope of practice among healthcare providers to improve access to care, rather than have the federal government base Medicare payment adjustments around geographic locations, an Institute of Medicine analysis says.

Medicare payment adjustments based on location are meant to take into consideration the regional differences in salaries, rent and other costs healthcare providers pay. The IOM concluded, in a second phase of its study, that its recommendation to focus on geographic adjustments would improve technical accuracy of payments but won't solve access to care challenges in medically underserved areas.

"Payment accuracy is important, but geographic adjustments are not the optimal way to achieve larger goals, such as ensuring access to clinicians or reducing disparities in care. Such objectives should be addressed through other means," committee chairman Frank Sloan, Ph.D., Duke University, wrote.

In addition the IOM recommends that Medicare should support policies that enable all qualified health professionals to practice to the full extent of their education and training, and that Medicare pay for telemedicine in underserved areas.

The report was sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Click here for an abstract of the report.

Share this article:

More in News

Hospitals in the Midwest refer patients to the broadest networks of skilled nursing facilities, study finds

Hospitals in the Midwest refer patients to the ...

Midwestern hospitals spread referrals to the greatest variety of skilled nursing facilities and tap their favorite SNFs least often, according to a recently published analysis of nationwide referral patterns.

Bill would affect pay, scheduling for some nursing home housekeeping staff

Nursing homes could face more stringent scheduling requirements for housekeeping workers and might be on the hook to compensate them for last-minute shift changes under a bill proposed in both houses of Congress.

Joint Commission adds memory care accreditation

New memory care accreditation for nursing homes encourages staff to use a flexible, problem-solving approach to care for those with dementia, according to Joint Commission guidelines.