AMA Wire

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This Week's News

Congressional advisory panel proposes paying for care coordination

Congressional advisory panel proposes paying for care coordination

In its latest congressional report, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommended rewarding coordination of care to improve health outcomes and help stabilize the Medicare program.

The 259-page report, one of two the commission produces annually, offers recommendations for improving and sustaining Medicare in the current U.S. health care delivery system. In particular, the report focuses on advancing care coordination to keep Medicare patients healthy. The report stresses the need to pay for care coordination services that physicians are already providing, including telephone calls, patient education and medication management.

"These services are critical to improving patient outcomes, especially for chronically ill patients," AMA Immediate Past-president Peter W. Carmel, MD, said in a statement.

The AMA Chronic Care Coordination Workgroup, a joint effort of the AMA's CPT® Editorial Panel and the RVS Update Committee, has been urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to pay for these services and will provide new codes and relative values for the agency to consider adopting on Jan. 1.

Care coordination can help reduce redundant testing, poor transitions of care, and unnecessary hospitalizations and procedures.

Other key topics raised in the June MedPAC report include care coordination for patients who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, reform of Medicare's fee-for-service benefit design and improvements to the Medicare Advantage program.