#1 Risk of ‘Mass Exodus’ of Doctors from Medicare by algernonpj 21.10.2016 14:06

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Risk of ‘Mass Exodus’ of Doctors from Medicare
New law's success or failure will 'profoundly influence the future of the U.S. health care system’
by John S. O’Shea, M.D. | Updated 21 Oct 2016 at 9:22 AM

In what may be the most significant modification to Medicare since the program began in 1966, on Oct. 15, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). It dramatically changes how Medicare pays doctors for their services.

Does it really matter how doctors get paid? Yes — the success or failure of the new payment system will profoundly influence the future of the U.S. health care system. And while the goals of MACRA are laudable, its implementation carries a number of unknowns and the potential for unintended consequences — for patients and doctors alike.

Before MACRA, Medicare used a fee-for-service payment system, reimbursing separately for each individual service provided, without regard to the quality of the care. The new system will reward doctors for providing high-quality, efficient care that leads to better patient outcomes, and penalize those who fail to do so. At least — that’s the idea.

MACRA creates two pathways for physician payment. There’s the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), which will pay doctors based on how they score on a number of performance metrics relative to their peers. The second pathway will reward doctors who participate in Alternative Payment Models (APMs) meant to promote high-quality, cost-efficient care by incentivizing doctors to work together toward a common purpose: improving patient outcomes while eliminating unnecessary spending.

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If MACRA is implemented according to the arbitrary timeline set by the administration, it could force doctors to abandon private practice for salaried positions or leave practice altogether — neither of which would be good for patient care. So, yes, we all should care how doctors get paid.

John S. O'Shea, M.D., is a practicing surgeon and a senior fellow in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies.


http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/risk-...-from-medicare/

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