Medicare office visit payments standardized in new proposal

A new Medicare proposal would essentially pay physicians the same rate for all office visits, reports The New York Times.

Under the Trump administration's plan, physicians would basically be paid the same for these visits no matter the patient's condition or services rendered. Federal officials would pay physicians one rate for visits with new patients (about $135) and one rate for established patients (about $93).

The government said the plan  is designed to cut the time physicians spend on paperwork.

"Time spent on paperwork is time away from patients," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma, according to the Times. She projected 51 hours of saved clinic time per physician annually under the proposal.

Critics of the proposal, such as oncologists, cite multiple potential negative effects, including underpaying physicians who care for more complex patients and spurring some providers not to treat as many Medicare beneficiaries.

Medicare now recognizes five levels of office visits. Level 1 is mostly for nonphysician services and involves the least comprehensive care and patient, while Level 5 involves the most comprehensive care and patient.

Read more about the proposal here.

 

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