Medicare Introduces New Compensation Technique Aimed to Increase Doctor Availability


Medicare has now introduced a new reimbursement for doctors. A $40.40 charge per member per month charge is now being opened to physicians who offer a 24/7 service to patient care. In addition to the 24/7 mandate, physicians are required to offer a minimum of 20 minutes per month of clinical team time, a creation of care plan, coordinate community-based services and agree to manage hospital, emergency department and home care services.

Rose Ramirez, M.D., a family practice doctor in Grand Rapids praises the addition, saying, “We applaud any effort to reimburse physicians for all the time they put into taking care of patients.” It is evident that Medicare is encouraging more access to doctors for patients, and this will be particularly helpful for patients who are too sick to get to a doctors office, or some who live in more rural communities and are not near to a medical facility. Medicare has expanded payment codes to allow for more telehealth services.

Dr. Ramirez did mention that the looming Balanced Budget Amendment might offset this increase in reimbursement. The Balanced Budget Amendment enacted in 1997 has scheduled a 21% Medicare physician fee cut. Congress has managed to delay this cut each year since 2003. Other doctors also note that there may be some extra costs involved in filling out the paperwork to file for the new reimbursement.

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