MedPac's final payment recommendations to Congress: 5 things to know

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has issued its final payment recommendations for inclusion in its annual report to Congress, which includes a slight increase in hospital Medicare payments and restructuring of the Primary Care Incentive Program.

Here are five things to know about the payment recommendations.

1. MedPac members are asking Congress to require Medicare to freeze current reimbursement rates for home health agencies, long-term acute-care hospitals and hospice providers in 2016.

2. MedPac members are recommending a 3.25 percent increase in the payment rates for the acute-care hospital inpatient and outpatient prospective payment systems in 2016. 

3. MedPac members are recommending site-neutral payments for certain post-acute services, which according to MedPac would save Medicare $1 billion to $5 billion over five years.

4. MedPac contended site-neutral payments for skilled nursing facilities and inpatient rehabilitation facilities "would be unlikely to negatively impact beneficiaries," according to a Bloomberg report. However, American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association Chairman Bruce Gans told Bloomberg MedPac's decision "fails to consider the long-term impact of diverting Medicare beneficiaries into less intensive rehabilitation settings despite their clinical needs."

5. MedPac members are recommending the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Primary Care Incentive Program be restructured to provide a 10 percent bonus payment for certain primary care services on a per-beneficiary basis, instead of the current per-visit basis.

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