The government agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment matters met publicly in Washington, D.C. last week.

During the virtual meeting, members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission discussed and debated:

  • differences in quality measure results across Medicare populations
  • policy options for increasing Medicare payments to primary care clinicians
  • aligning fee-for-service payment rates across ambulatory settings
  • mandated report: evaluation of a prototype design for a post-acute care prospective payment system
  • supporting Medicare safety-net hospitals

On the subject of supporting Medicare safety-net hospitals, the meeting’s agenda noted that

The Medicare program strives to ensure access to care for all beneficiaries.  However, some beneficiaries, such as those with low incomes, may have more difficulty accessing care than others.  At the same time, providers that treat high shares of low-income beneficiaries may face financial challenges.

The agenda goes on to explain that

An alternative framework could be used to better identify safety-net providers and provide financial support for hospitals serving low-income Medicare beneficiaries.

MedPAC is an independent congressional agency that advises Congress on issues involving Medicare.  While its recommendations are not binding on Congress or the administration, MedPAC is highly influential in governing circles and its recommendations often find their way into legislation, regulations, and new public policy.  Because so many patients of community safety-net hospitals are insured by Medicare, MedPAC’s deliberations are especially important to those hospitals and the Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals.

For a look at the agenda for the two-day meeting and to find the presentations for each of these subjects, go here.