The government issued new regulations describing changes in the way the program will compensate doctors in coming years. Authorized by a law enacted last year, the changes are significant and will be phased in over several years. The aim, as always, is to increase quality of care while reducing Medicare’s costs. The regulations, however, are very complex and there is a wide range of opinion over how the new rules will change the practice of medicine and the care Medicare beneficiaries receive.
Whether it succeeds or fails, it’s one of the biggest changes in Medicare’s 50-year history.
While the concept of paying for quality has broad support, the details have been a source of trepidation for some clinicians, who worry that the new system will force small practices and old-fashioned solo doctors to join big groups. Patients may soon start hearing about the changes from their physicians, but it’s still too early to discern the impacts.