The non-partisan legislative branch agency that advises Congress and the administration on Medicare payment policies has submitted its mandatory annual report to Congress.
- Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program has not resulted in increases in emergency room visits or hospital observation stays.
- Many Medicare accountable care organizations, while maintaining or improving quality, are producing more modest savings than predicted.
- MedPAC approves of Medicare’s proposals to redesign the case-mix classification system for skilled nursing facilities.
- MedPAC supports changes Medicare has proposed for patient assessment and therapy requirements for skilled nursing facilities.
MedPAC’s recommendations include:
- Authorizing outpatient-only hospitals in isolated rural communities to ensure access to emergency care.
- Reducing payments to off-campus emergency departments in certain urban areas.
- Rebalancing Medicare’s physician fee schedule to increase payments for ambulatory evaluation and management services while reducing payments for procedures, imaging, and tests.
- Paying for sequential stays in a unified prospective payment system for post-acute care.
- Establishing new ways to help patients, families, and hospitals identify higher-quality post-acute care providers for their patients.
- Establishing new principles for measuring quality that address both population-based measures and quality incentives.
- Encouraging the development of managed care plans that better meet the needs of the dually eligible (Medicare and Medicaid) population.
- Eliminating Medicare payment increases for skilled nursing facilities in FY 2019 and FY 2020 because of the healthy financial condition of those facilities.
- Urging Medicare to use a uniform set of population-based measures for different health care settings and different populations.
- Moving forward with a unified post-acute-care payment system as quickly as possible.
Learn more about MedPAC’s thinking, research, conclusions, and recommendations by consulting the following materials: the news release that accompanied MedPAC’s transmission of its report to Congress; a fact sheet that accompanied the report’s release; and the 407-page report itself.