CHA News Article

MedPAC Releases Report on Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) today released its annual report to Congress on Medicare and the health care delivery system. MedPAC expanded on its March 2012 recommendations, opposed by CHA, to reduce the rate Medicare pays for basic office visits from the payment rate in the outpatient setting to the physician office rate. Using similar criteria, today’s report identifies 66 groups of additional outpatient services recommended to be reduced to the physician office rate, and 12 groups of services that are commonly performed in ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), for which the outpatient payment rates could be reduced to the ASC level. CHA continues to oppose this policy recommendation.

MedPAC also provided recommendations to Congress for refinements to the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, including policies to reduce penalties on hospitals that serve a large number of low-income patients. Among other refinements, MedPAC recommends establishing a fixed, rather than relative, target for readmission rates so that penalties would decline as industry performance improves. CHA is pleased to see these recommendations reflect the field’s comments regarding the challenges this penalty program presents to many of the nation’s safety net hospitals.

The report also includes a mandated section publishing previous recommendations on payment for outpatient therapy services, as well as a section on the role that federally qualified health centers and community health centers have in coordinating care for dual-eligible beneficiaries.

The full report is available at A fact sheet is attached.