Changes to Medicare physician pay key to healthcare reform, analysis suggests

Share this content:
CMS clarifies physician delegation of tasks in skilled nursing facilities
CMS clarifies physician delegation of tasks in skilled nursing facilities
Substantial changes to the Medicare benefit will be needed to affect any real reform or cost savings, and to ensure the program's future solvency, a news analysis suggests. That includes linking doctors' pay to improving  patients' health.

Much of the cost saving measures discussed so far focus on the short-term, and rely heavily on adjusted payment rates for skilled nursing facilities, and Medicare and Medicaid payment cuts to hospitals, according to an analysis published Thursday by Reuters news agency. While these measures could achieve a modicum of savings over the next decade, experts from the Center for Studying Health System Change, the Center for American Progress and the Brookings Institution's Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform say reforms are needed in the area of physician pay, according to Reuters.

One such physician pay proposal is to "bundle" payments to doctors in a pay-for-performance scheme, which would link doctors' pay to patient outcomes. If Medicare were to lead the charge in reforming this aspect of healthcare, it could potentially influence the entire U.S. healthcare system, Reuters suggests. The American Health Care Association has come out against bundling payments for post-acute care providers, arguing that the practice could significantly and adversely affect long-term care. (McKnight's, 4/2)