MedPAC issues report to Congress: 5 takeaways


The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has released its June 2019 report on Medicare payment policy to Congress, which includes a recommendation to end "incident to" billing for non-physician practitioners.

Here are five takeaways from MedPAC's June report:

1. The report examines issues affecting Medicare beneficiaries' access to primary care. MedPAC recommends eliminating "incident to" billing for advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants and refining their specialty designations to give Medicare a fuller accounting of the services provided by these clinicians and to improve policymakers' ability to target resources toward primary care.

2. MedPAC said policymakers may want to explore a loan repayment program or scholarship for geriatricians to increase Medicare beneficiary access to their services.

3. MedPAC said the Medicare Advantage quality bonus program is flawed and inconsistent with its principles for quality measurement. In its June report, MedPAC discusses an option to replace the quality bonus program with a Medicare Advantage value incentive program.

4. The Medicare Advantage value incentive program would be budget neutral and financed through withholding a small percentage of plan payments.

5. Rising prices account for the majority of spending growth for drugs covered under Medicare Part B. Building on its recommendation from June 2017, MedPAC examines two strategies — reference pricing and binding arbitration — to improve price competition for Part B drugs.

Access the full MedPAC report here.

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