How Will the Sequester Affect Medicare Payments?

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March 22, 2013
In this issue
» Sequestration Cuts Will Bring Reduction in Medicare Reimbursements

» Commission Recommends Transitioning From Fee-for-Service Physician Payments

» Plan to Raise Medicaid Payments to Medicare Level Moves Ahead, but at Snail's Pace

About this newsletter

The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to

Welcome to The ACP Advocate

Today we start by updating you about the sequester cuts.  What you may not be aware of is that the across-the-board federal spending cuts include a 2% cut in Medicare payments scheduled to start in April.  Check out the article for more details about the cuts and what we’ve heard from CMS.  Also, stay tuned to the ACP website for updates as CMS releases more information.

Our second story is all about a new report on physician payments that was recently released by the National Commission on Physician Payment Reform.  The report recommends a transition away from traditional fee-for-service payments and some improvements that can be made to the current system while that transition is taking place.  Read the article for more detail about what they’re proposing.

And, finally, the issue’s last story is about the new ACA provision going into effect this year that will raise Medicaid payments to be equal to Medicare payments.  The implementation has hit a few bumps so you may not have seen an increase in payments yet.  The article has more information about the process and about how you can contact your state Medicaid director to make sure you’ve “attested” in order to receive the payment bump.

For more coverage of what's happening in Washington take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty. You can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP.

As always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians  

In the news
» Sequestration Cuts Will Bring Reduction in Medicare Reimbursements
  Other health care agencies and programs also will see automatic funding cuts unless Congress acts

Physicians and hospitals should brace for a 2 percent cut in Medicare payments starting in April, one of a number of cuts that will take place in federal health care funding as part of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as ... » Click to read the full article

» Commission Recommends Transitioning From Fee-for-Service Physician Payments
  Better patient care would couple with fairer reimbursement in plan put forth by bipartisan group

In an effort to usher in an era of less-expensive, higher-quality health care, an independent commission has called for fundamental changes in the way physicians are paid, putting far less emphasis on the traditional "fee for service" p... » Click to read the full article

» Plan to Raise Medicaid Payments to Medicare Level Moves Ahead, but at Snail's Pace
  Because rules vary state to state, ACP urges physicians to check on new procedures in their locale

New rules intended to create parity between Medicare and Medicaid payments to physicians are rolling out more slowly than expected, hampered by delays at the state level.

For two years -- 2013 and 2014 -- the federal governme... » Click to read the full article

In focus
Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Increase GME Slots
On March 14th Representatives Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) introduced H.R. 1201, the Training Tommorow's Doctors Today Act. ACP is pleased that this legislation will increase the number of Graduate Medical Education Residency slots to train additional physicians.

Contact Your State Medicaid Office About Enhanced Primary Care Payments
In 2013 primary care and related specialtiy physicians will see an increase in their Medcaid payment to make them at least equivalent to payments under Medicare. In order to ensure that you receive this increase you must contact your state Medicaid office. Each state has a different timeline and procedure to fulfill an “attestation” requirement to receive the payment increases and you need to contact your state to determine exactly what you need to do. Additional information about the enhanced payments is on the College website.

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