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December 07, 2006

Looks like the Medicare pay cut for physicians will be cut, as expected

The Washington Post and Modern Healthcare reported today that a massive tax bill coming out of committee yesterday includes provisions that would reverse the 5% Medicare 2007 rate cut for physicians, and establish a 1.5% incentive increase for those who report on quality measures.  (Hospitals are currently docked part of their Medicare reimbursements unless they report quality measures; virtually all do so.  See CMS page on RHQDAPU.)

Such a stunt was not unexpected.  See earlier post here.  Here's hoping for a rational long-term fix to this issue.

Conferees reportedly reached an agreement this afternoon, with a vote in the House expected today, and a vote in the Senate tonight or tomorrow.

UPDATE 12/12/06:  Here's a link to the section of the bill passed by Congress that changes the 2007 Medicare fee schedule for physician services.  The President is expected to sign the bill.

Update 2/16/07:  Today, CMS posted here details on the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), which can net physicians up to a 1.5% bonus on Medicare FFS volume.

-- David Harlow

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