Monday Musings

I’ve previously posted information about the way that Congress got out of the annual “Doc Fix” problem with new legislation that restructures physician payment based on a variety of quality programs. Recently, Medicare trustees have warned that by 2048 physician pay will be worse under this new formula than under the Sustainable Growth Rate formula that Congress replaced. That is, unless providers change how they deliver care or Congress steps in to increase pay rates.

Public Trustee Robert Reischauer said it will be difficult to implement Medicare reforms already called for by law. A senior government official said the trustees report assumes all providers will participate in alternative pay models far in the future, but the 0.75% annual pay increase does not keep up with the 2.3% annual Medicare Economic Index that projects cost increases to physicians. The trustees expect insufficient pay increases to physicians to become a problem.

qualityvsquantity11What is clear is that there will continue to be a rapid movement away from the current outpatient volume based payment system. The sooner clinicians find ways to succeed under these new payment models, the more likely we are to survive into the next decade of healthcare. So, it’s past time for you to try downloading  those quality measures on the USWR website and/or submitting data to the USWR specialty registry as I have been mentioning in the month of August.