Panel Calls For ‘Drastic Changes’ In Medicare Doctor Pay

Mon, 03/04/2013 - 11:09am
Jordan Rau

A panel convened by a major medical group is recommending that Medicare heal its physician payment shortfalls with “drastic changes” in how it reimburses doctors and other providers, rather than seeking more taxpayer money.

Medicare needs $138 billion over the next decade to avoid steep cuts in physician pay. Avoiding those cuts has become an annual scramble in Congress known as the “doc fix.” In a report released Monday, the panel—mainly composed of doctors—concludes that there are enough “marginal, harmful, ineffective, or unnecessary” services already being paid for in Medicare that outside funding is unnecessary.

Better pay for doctors who care and manage those with complicated medical problems could also come from money already in the health care system, according to the National Commission on Physician Payment Reform. The commission was put together by the Society of General Internal Medicine, which is made up of about 3,000 physicians on faculties at medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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