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Will they cut non-primary-care physicians’ fees?

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Medical Economics reports that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC)   will recommend a 1.4 payment cut in 75 percent of non-primary care services in Medicare’s Physician Fee Schedule  in a bid  to continue funding a 10 percent bonus payment for primary-care physicians that expires at the end of 2015.

The American Academy of Family Physicians reported that MedPAC Commissioner Kathy Buto, MPA, said “I’ve been involved with the fee schedule from the start, and there’s never been a year when primary care was funded in a way that was appropriate.” AAFP said that she  suggested valuing primary care separately from specialty care covered by Medicare.

Commissioner William Hall, M.D., questioned whether the bonus payment is enough  to fix the problems with primary care. “If we double the salaries of primary care physicians, we would get more people in primary care, but we would have little or no impact on the system of care that people on Medicare need,” AAFP reported.

Nonprimary-care physicians have good lobbyists in Washington, D.C., too, so it’s hard to predict that their fees will be cut.

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