House Hearing Will Include Effort To Revive ‘Balance Billing’
Testimony will come from the nation's largest physician organizations, which will tell a House subcommittee about the need to replace Medicare's current payment system. Meanwhile, on the personnel front, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a new chief medical officer, and CMS Administrator Donald Berwick is talking about his "service."
The Hill: Physician Groups Demand Five-Year Transition To New Medicare System
Three of the nation's largest physician groups will tell Congress on Thursday that Medicare needs to overhaul over the next five years the way it pays for care. The groups are scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Health subpanel about proposals to replace the dreaded Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which calls for deep cuts to Medicare payment rates. Republicans and the administration have vowed to repeal the formula this year, but doing so would cost almost $300 billion (Pecquet, 5/4).
Politico Pro: 'Doc Fix' Hearing To Revive 'Balance Billing'
A coalition of state medical societies and surgical specialties are backing a "doc fix" bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Tom Price of Georgia that would allow doctors to charge patients more than Medicare pays for various services. The coalition is going to make its case for the Price bill and the practice known as "balance billing" at a hearing of the Energy and Commerce health subcommittee Thursday, according to testimony Politico obtained in advance of the hearing (Coughlin, 5/5).
Meanwhile, in news related to Medicare and CMS -
California Healthline: Don Berwick Wants You To Judge the Quality, Not Quantity, of His Service
Donald Berwick may not be long for public office, but he's determined to leave a long-lasting mark on the U.S. health care system. The nation's top Medicare and Medicaid official had promised in February "the largest national effort on patient safety that we've ever seen." And in April, Berwick and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finally unveiled the "Partnership for Patients," a $1 billion initiative that will target hospital performance. Meanwhile, Berwick has overseen a slew of new federal rules intended to revamp payment and incent higher quality care (Diamond, 5/4).
CQ HealthBeat: CMS Has New Chief Medical Officer
Patrick Conway has been named chief medical officer and director of the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He starts on May 9 (Bunis, 5/4).