Patrick Conway: CMS open to Medicare Part B proposal changes

Amid mounting criticism for the government's Medicare Part B payment model demonstrations, a top federal health official says he is open to adjusting parts of the proposed policies, according to an article from MedPage Today.

The proposed payment model tests, announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in March, met swift criticism from provider groups that saw it as a reimbursement cut and argued it puts too much focus on saving money and too little on ensuring patients' access to treatment. Some lawmakers have also jumped into the fray.

CMS Chief Medical Officer and Principle Deputy Administrator Patrick Conway, M.D., defended the proposal during a briefing with reporters Wednesday, according to the article. He said that even though most physicians prescribe medications based on what is best for their patients, he has spoken with some doctors who won't prescribe certain medications because the current model wouldn't cover it.

"The proposal was to remove financial considerations from the prescribing of medicine," he said, but added that "if the proposal doesn't hit that point and we need to adjust it, we'd be open to that."

When asked why this new plan doesn't mimic that of Medicare Part D--which has been highly successful--Conway pointed out that the Part D was set up in law through the private healthcare market, according to the article.

However, Conway added that CMS is trying to apply some of the Part D principles and the private market into the Part B drug space. The agency is also considering excluding practices from the Part B demonstration that are already participating in CMS' Oncology Care Model.

To learn more:
- read the article