Medicare finalizes physician pay for new care coordination benefit

The certainty provided by the rule and additional exemptions from e-prescribing requirements contrast with the payment instability posed by the upcoming 26.5% SGR cut.

Ama-assn: Nov. 12, 2012. 

Washington The Medicare program starting in January 2013 will pay doctors for care coordination services when transferring patients to skilled nursing facilities, according to new coverage policy detailed in the final Medicare physician fee schedule published Nov. 1.

The new service was one of myriad Medicare payment changes finalized in the annual regulation announcing program rates for the next year. As required by statute, the fee schedule includes an across-the-board sustainable growth rate cut to physician pay, a reduction that federal officials calculated at 26.5%. Congress has prevented similar SGR cuts for several years, but new legislation must be approved by a lame-duck Congress before Jan. 1, 2013, to stop the latest reduction. Read more