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National Reform Group Urges Sweeping Changes in How Physicians are Paid
The National Commission on Physician Payment Reform (“NCPPR”) issued a report this week, calling for changes that will fundamentally change the way doctors get paid. The NCPPR took the position that the traditional “fee-for-service” method for paying physicians should be eliminated within the next ten years.
The bipartisan commission deliberated for a year, concluding with 12 recommendations to reform payment methods. The elimination of the fee-for-service system is the lynchpin of the group’s reform efforts, since the fee-for-service system is the primary compensation system for physicians in this country. The report claims that this system is the chief reason for high healthcare costs and uneven patient care, with an average cost per year for each U.S. citizen at $8,000.
Prior to the elimination of the current system in a decade, the NCPPR is calling for a five-year transition to a blended payment system, which could include payments made by accountable care organizations, bundled payments for patients with multiple conditions, and reimbursement structures of fixed payments and shared savings.
The NCPPR also recommends an increase in annual evaluation and management codes for Medicare and private payors and the elimination of the Sustainable Growth Rate, with the cost to be paid for with cost-savings from the Medicare program as a whole.