May 6, 2024 - A hearing, entitled, “Bolstering Chronic Care through Medicare Physician Payment”  was recently held by the Senate Finance Committee, focusing on Medicare payments to providers under the Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). Among the topics discussed were:

  • Incentivizing quality, patient-centered care, and care coordination over service volume through value-based care
  • Limitations of the PFS include increasing cost of care and decreasing reimbursement
  • Increasing costs of providing care related to IT investments and administrative burdens of MA plans

The hearing yielded a general agreement that:

  • Stability, predictability, and consistency of funding could improve efficiency and quality of care
  • Strategies for improving the healthcare system should focus on care coordination and prevention and avoidance of unnecessary healthcare costs.
  • PFS payment declines of more than 25% in the past two decades will yield consequences such as increased wait times for services, delays in critical care, and decreased access to care if reform is not prioritized.

Senators participating in the hearing included Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sen. James  Lankford (R-OK), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). 

A new Medicare Payment Reform Group, consisting of US Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Mark Warner (D-VA), launched this February. 

For the full committee hearing: Bolstering Chronic Care through Medicare Physician Payment

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