The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be paying physicians a higher rate to cover Medicaid patients beginning in January 2013, this according to a final rule released yesterday.
The rule implements Section 1202 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires Medicaid to pay primary care physicians at the same rate as Medicare. The payment increase goes into effect in January 2013.
The goal of the pay increase is to entice more physicians to treat Medicaid patients in anticipation of the program’s massive expansion under ACA. However, the pay increase is only applicable in 2013 and 2014, leaving many to question how effective it will ultimately be during such a limited time frame.
Jeffrey Cain, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians, praised the increase as a much-needed shot in the arm for Medicaid reimbursement. However he noted that, unless it was made permanent, there would be a “sudden return to disparate and inadequate payment” for primary care under Medicaid.
The text of the final rule can be found here.