Senate Finance Committee Hears More 'Doc Fix' Testimony

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , May 15, 2013

Better collaboration between doctors, specialists
With the growing complexity of caring for Medicare beneficiaries, Kavita K. Patel, MD, of the Brookings Institute, stated that new payment models should encourage collaboration between specialists and primary care physicians.

Patel, a practicing primary care internist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, suggested a care coordination pathway be developed for the care of a patient with chronic disease. The pathway would consolidate potential bonus payments from several quality initiatives?such as PQRS, value-based modifers, meaningful use, and electronic prescribing?into one lump sum payment.

She noted that those payments are generally administered as either a flat percentage or are adjusted to all FFS payments. Shifting some existing FFS payments to a single care coordination payment would "give providers more support in moving toward condition-based, episodic payments, or global payments that allow for management of population health payments that would otherwise be impossible in the current payment setting."

Follow up Senate hearings on the SGR have not been scheduled. Sen. Baucus and Sen. Hatch are expected to develop legislation, but that probably not happen until summer. Last week the two co-signed a letter to physicians and other groups asking for specific input on replacing the SGR.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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