A big change to how doctors get paid could seriously affect the level of care you get in the future.
The Obama administration has made a huge, sweeping change to Medicare — specifically, how Medicare pays doctors based on a bipartisan law passed by Congress last year. It’s part of a bigger effort to shift health care payments away from paying doctors a fee for each test or procedure toward a system where doctors are rewarded for improving the health of their patients.
The White House hopes to save the Medicare system money and also get higher quality care from doctors. The move comes from a law passed by Congress in 2015 that replaced a system of cuts to physician payments.
Basically, doctors now get to choose one of two main tracks for getting paid through Medicare: the first through the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), which gives doctors a bonus if they meet quality targets. But if they fail to meet those standards, their pay gets cut. The second track involves “advanced” payment models that are tied to better quality care.
The American Medical Association praised the move in a statement.
“The AMA acknowledges the commitment by Acting Administrator Andrew Slavitt and his senior team at CMS for listening to physician concerns and taking several concrete steps to help them adjust to this new Medicare payment framework,” said AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, MD. “By announcing the ‘Pick Your Pace’ approach to give physicians greater flexibility and increased options for participating in MACRA in 2017, HHS Secretary Burwell and Acting Administrator Slavitt took a significant step last month to address AMA concerns about the original proposal.”