The federal government should continue paying extra for primary care services provided to Medicare patients, Congress has been told by its chief advisor on Medicare payment policy.

According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the independent federal agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment matters, Medicare has long undervalued primary care services in comparison to specialty medical care, and in 2010 the Affordable Care Act introduced a ten percent bonus for primary care services provided to seniors through 2015.

medpac-logo.Par.0001.ImageWith the expiration of that bonus coming in a little more than a year, MedPAC has told Congress it should seek to continue the practice but perhaps by making the additional payment on a per beneficiary basis rather than a per visit basis, to make such an approach part of the broader effort to discourage the volume provision of services and to encourage outcomes-oriented care.

In its June 2014 report to Congress, MedPAC also outlines how such a payment might work.

Learn more about MedPAC’s overall recommendations, including this one involving Medicare primary care payments, in this MedPAC fact sheet.  Find the entire MedPAC June 2014 report to Congress here.