Medicare Changes Coming in 2015

Nov 24, 2014

Changes are coming to Medicare, the insurance plan for seniors and disabled, in 2015. This will affect the way physicians deliver care and the way patients receive care. 

Officials from the Pennsylvania Medical Society discussed some of the changes in a conference call on Monday. Providers will have to provide quality measure data or be penalized in 2015.

Mary Ellen Corum, the group’s director of practice support, said that this is an arduous process.

“Physicians have to report at least nine measures, covering at least three of the national quality, strategy domains and report at least each measure for at least 50 percent of the providers Medicare Part B fee for service patient," she said. "Of those nine measures, at least one of those has to be one of nine cross-cutting measures.”

Chronic care management, telemedicine services in rural areas, the definition of  what a colonoscopy screening is and the Sustainable Growth Rate’s impact on consolidation will also be changing. 

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be cutting Medicare physician payments by 21 percent on April 1, 2015.

In addition to that there is also a 2 percent sequestration cut.

Dennis Olmstead, Pennsylvania Medical Society’s chief medical economist, said that in Pennsylvania that comes out to an average of $12,000 per physician.

While there will be less payment, there will be more services for patients: In 2015, Medicare will begin paying for additional services, including the annual wellness visit, psycho-analysis, family psycho-therapy and prolonged evaluation of management services requiring direct patient contact.

In 2015, Medicare will be expanding telemedicine benefits to include the annual wellness visit, psycho-analysis, family psycho-therapy and prolonged evaluation of management services which requires direct patient contact.