Senate Finance Explores Medicare Physician Payment and Graduate Medical Education Reform

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On May 17, the Senate Finance Committee released a long-awaited white paper describing its legislative effort focused on bolstering chronic care through physician payment. Following a committee hearing April 11, the white paper describes key challenges within Medicare Part B payment that“ may jeopardize a clinician's ability to own and operate a health care practice and meet patient needs” and the “pervasive challenges within Medicare’s Physician Fee Schedule and Medicare fee-for-service (FFS).”

The committee emphasized this white paper reflects preliminary areas of interest rather than formal proposals, and that the committee will continue to conduct outreach to stakeholders and experts to push toward bipartisan legislative solutions. The white paper considers policy ideas to modernize Medicare physician payment  to better align incentives, reduce fragmentation, and improve access to comprehensive care.

The white paper also considered solutions that would more directly bolster support for Medicare enrollees with chronic diseases, including: expanding access to non-medical benefits like medically tailored meals, transportation to the grocery store, and minor structural home modifications to prevent falls; leveraging alternative payment models to reduce the administrative burden on primary care providers delivering chronic disease care; and protecting access to telehealth services under Medicare FFS.

Though there is not a formal deadline for feedback, the Finance Committee staff has requested feedback on the proposals no later than June 14.

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