Patients age 65 or older that are covered by Medicare may soon see their medical care change in a not so positive way, according to doctors anyway. Each year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) makes proposed tweaks to its fee schedule, which is expected go into effect next year. CMS recently implemented a plan detailing major changes in how it will reimburse doctors for office visits.
Medicare shells out a higher fee to doctors to conduct longer office visits. Based on the new plan proposals, doctors participating in Medicare will receive the same flat fee for outpatient visits regardless of whether a patient is visiting them for something like indigestion or a more serious condition like stomach cancer. This also includes chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
CMS bigwigs say the changes are aimed at cutting down on paperwork while allowing doctors a greater amount of time with their patients. However, there are doctors who say these changes will lead to payment oversimplification while actually reducing the amount of time they get to spend with their patients.
Current CMS guidelines established in the late 90s outline the rules doctors must abide by and include in a patient’s health record in order for them to be reimbursed for a certain level of care. There are currently four of these levels. With the new CMS proposals, these levels will be simplified into a single one.
To read more about the plan visit https://www.washingtonpost.
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