Doctors fight reforms cutting Medicare fees for high test, treatment volume

Doctors are up in arms over a provision in the latest version of the Senate's health reform bill, which could cut Medicare payments to physicians billing for the highest level of tests and treatments. The authors say the main effect of such rules, which would cut payments 5 percent for doctors ranked at the 90th percentile or above, would be to reduce waste and inefficiency.

Doctors, however, say that the rules could discourage practices from accepting the oldest, sickest patients, even though the bill also requires Medicare to risk-adjust its measures. They say that HHS still doesn't have good enough data to risk-adjust Medicare data properly.

The rules also would require HHS to send reports to physicians comparing their treatment levels to those of other doctors, and require doctors, in turn, to submit quality data to the agency.

To learn more about this proposal:
- read this Kaiser Health News item

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