Senators introduce pay-for-performance legislation

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Two senators Thursday introduced a pay-for-performance bill for healthcare providers.

The bill would allow the Health and Human Services Department secretary to reward providers when they report quality data and later when they improve quality or meet certain quality standards. The legislation would establish a "value-based purchasing" system for providers, including skilled nursing facilities.

If passed, physicians who report quality data would receive the full update to Medicare reimbursements allowable under current law in 2007, and those who do not report quality data would have their updates reduced by 2%.

It would also establish a national information technology network pilot program, allowing providers to exchange clinical, claims and outcomes data for Medicare beneficiaries. Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Max Baucus (D-MT) brought the measure to the Senate.

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