Policymakers have made various recommendations to reduce overall Medicare hospital outpatient payments for evaluation and management (E&M) services. Such cuts would effectively lower the payment rate to the equivalent rate for physicians, and would disproportionately hurt safety net hospitals. While members of America’s Essential Hospitals make up just 2 percent of all hospitals and represent 6 percent of all discharges, they would absorb 15 percent of the cuts from reduced E&M payments. These payment cuts are being considered for potential savings in the federal budget and are on the table in fiscal cliff negotiations.
America’s Essential Hospitals prepared these talking points to guide members as they educate their congressional delegations on the impact of payment cuts to Medicare E&M services.
In the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s (MedPAC’s) March 2012 Report to Congress, the Commission outlines its proposal to reduce overall Medicare hospital outpatient payments for evaluation and management (E&M) services.