According to the Associated Press, Medicare just unveiled "a far-reaching overhaul of how it compensates doctors and other clinicians."
The supposed goal of the changes in how Medicare compensates doctors is to "reward quality, cost-effective care instead of just paying piecemeal for services."
The nearly 2400 pages of regulations is one of the biggest changes in Medicare's history and it will not only impact how doctors get paid but it will also significantly impact your ability to get the care you want.
Under the legislation, most doctors who accept Medicare (I don't) will be forced to choose between two different payment models. The first payment model is called the "Alternative Payment Models" and the second is called the "Merit-Based Incentive Payment System."
A major focus of these models will be to reward doctors "for performance" including requiring "reporting quality measures to the government, and using electronic medical records."
What does this mean for you?
This means that the government will be paying doctors to treat their patients in a certain way. In other words, the government will be outlining what it thinks doctors should be doing for patients and rewarding those who fall in line and punishing those who don't. Doctors will also be forced to report information about patients to prove they are meeting these supposed quality measures.
I don't know specifically what these quality measures will be but they may include things like making sure patients get all the government mandated vaccines or even social measures like birth control or asking about guns in the home.
These metrics will be reported to the government who will control what "quality" looks like. This will mean that your doctor will focus on these specific measures every time they see you. Their livelihood will depend on it. This will mean that they will have less time to focus on you as an individual and your individual needs and instead that they will be focusing on making sure all the quality measures they have to report to the government are checked off.
It will also mean that they will have even less time to focus on issues like healthy eating and preventative medicine.
This will even impact individuals with private insurance as most private insurance companies tend to follow Medicare's lead especially when they see a way to pay doctor's less.
These new regulations will be implemented in the next few years. While this occurs it is important to note that there are alternatives. Doctors, like myself, who have exited the third party payment system are able to see patients without these controls. This means that your information will be kept private and that your health care needs can be addressed without having to focus on government requirements and reporting. In the end it will mean that you will receive better and more personalized care.
If you have questions about what these changes will mean for you or how I can help feel free to email or call.
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