Medicare to change compensation protocols for medical providers

Changes create two payment systems that could help medical practices receive higher reimbursements.

Image: Thinkstock
Image: Thinkstock

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare is unveiling a far-reaching overhaul of how it pays doctors and other clinicians. Compensation for medical professionals will start taking into account the quality of service — not just quantity.

The massive regulation published Friday is known as MACRA (Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015). It’s meant to carry out bipartisan legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama last year.  MACRA creates two payment systems, or tracks, for clinicians. Medical practices can earn higher reimbursements if they learn new ways of doing business. That includes being willing to accept financial risk and reward for performance, reporting quality measures to the government, and using electronic medical records.

Advocates say the new system will improve quality and help check costs.  But critics say the new requirements are overwhelming and will drive out solo practitioners.

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