On January 16 and 17, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (“MedPAC” or “Commission”) held its first public meeting of 2014. One topic the Commission debated was aligning Medicare hospital outpatient payments and physician office payments for certain services. Medicare payment rates for certain services, including evaluation and management services, are higher when performed in hospital outpatient departments compared to in physician clinics, purportedly incentivizing providers to furnish these services in the hospital outpatient department setting. After debate, the MedPAC commissioners agreed to recommend to Congress reducing or eliminating payment differences between hospital outpatient departments and physician offices for 66 ambulatory payment classifications. If Congress adopts and CMS implements these payment changes, the advantages of provider-based status will be further diminished.

The MedPAC January 16-17 meeting agenda and meeting briefs are available on the MedPAC website. Meeting testimony will be available at such website in the near future.

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