The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed changes to the Physician Fee Schedule to update how Medicare pays for primary care. “The rule’s primary care proposals improve how Medicare pays for services provided by primary care physicians and other practitioners for patients with multiple chronic conditions, mental and behavioral health issues, as well as cognitive impairment or mobility-related impairments,” it states. “These changes will improve payment for clinicians who are making investments of time and resources to provide more coordinated and patient-centered care.”
Updates to payment policies, payment rates and quality provisions for services provided in calendar year 2017 are included in the annual Physician Fee Schedule. “Today’s proposals are intended to give a significant lift to the practice of primary care and to boost the time a physician can spend with their patients listening, advising and coordinating their care—both for physical and mental health,” said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt in the news release.
Additional policies proposed in the 2017 payment rule include primary care and care coordination, mental and behavioral health, cognitive impairment care assessment and planning and care for patients with mobility-related impairments. “The rule proposes revisions to payment for chronic care management, including payment for new codes and for extra care management furnished by a physician or practitioner following the initiating visit for patients with multiple chronic conditions,” according to CMS.
“This proposed change is a significant update to the Physician Fee Schedule and will support primary care when and where patients need it most.” CMS is accepting comments on the proposed rule until Sept. 6 and will respond to comments in a final rule.