MedPAC Meets

Last week the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission met in Washington, D.C. to discuss a number of Medicare payment issues.

The issues on MedPAC’s December agenda were:

  • The Medicare prescription drug program (Part D)
  • Opioids and alternatives in hospital settings: payments, incentives, and Medicare data
  • Hospital inpatient and outpatient services payments
  • Redesigning Medicare’s hospital quality incentive programs
  • Physicians and other health professional services payments
  • Medicare payment policies for advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants
  • Ambulatory surgical centers and hospice payments
  • Skilled nursing facilities, home health agency, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities payments
  • Long-term care hospital services payments
  • Outpatient dialysis payments
  • Future policy directions to address Medicare prescription drug spending
  • Analysis of Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) performance

MedPAC is an independent congressional agency that advises Congress on issues involving the Medicare program.  While its recommendations are not binding on either 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.  Many of the issues MedPAC addressed during its January meetings are very important to private safety-net hospitals.

Go here for links to the policy briefs and presentations that supported MedPAC’s discussion of these issues.

Medicaid APMs Moving in New Directions

For the most part, states’ use of alternative payment models in their Medicaid programs so far have focused on the work done by primary and acute-care providers.  Now, a number of states are starting to extend their use of APMs in other areas, including:

  • behavioral health providers
  • safety-net providers
  • long-term care providers

Because safety-net hospitals serve so many more Medicaid patients than the typical hospital, they are more likely to be affected by this trend in the coming years.

For a look at what states are doing to drive value in Medicaid payments in these new areas, see the Commonwealth Fund article “The Next Generation of Paying for Value in Medicaid,” which can be found here.