MedPAC Calls for Small Pay Increase for Docs in 2012

MedPAC Calls for Small Pay Increase for Docs in 2012

WASHINGTON — Codifying recommendations made at a meeting last month, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has officially recommended that physician reimbursement under the Medicare program be increased by 1% in 2012.

MedPAC — an independent agency of 17 trustees that provides Congress with advice on Medicare — sends a report to Congress each March on Medicare’s fee-for-service payment system and recommends payment updates for the following year.

In its report to Congress last year, MedPAC also recommended a 1% pay increase, justifying the size by explaining that most Medicare patients have access to physicians and there doesn’t appear to be any doctor shortage.

This year, they said it’s just as easy for a Medicare beneficiary to access a doctor as it is for someone with private insurance, adding a caveat that a “small share” of people with Medicare do report difficulty in finding a primary care doctor.

In addition, they noted, contrary to threats that doctors will stop accepting new Medicare patients, the vast majority of physicians are not shutting their doors.

“In light of these positive indicators and the modest expected growth in physicians’ and other health professionals’ costs, the Commission recommends an update of 1% for physician fee-schedule services in 2012,” the trustees wrote.

To read more visit http://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHealthPolicy/Medicare/25354