Finance Committee outlines potential reform options

by Lesley Politi on April 30, 2009

Finance Committee outlines potential reform options

By Matthew DoBias

Posted: April 28, 2009 – 6:30 pm EDT

The Senate Finance Committee released a list of potential planks to its healthcare reform platform that includes ways to change how hospitals and other providers are reimbursed under Medicare and moves the focus of care toward a more collaborative effort between doctors and hospitals.

Under one option, hospitals and providers would move to a system of value-based purchasing starting in 2012. Under another, primary-care doctors and some surgeons would get bonus payments of 5% for five years.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who has chaired numerous hearings on how best to reform the healthcare system, said the list of about 16 options puts “some meat on the bones” of the ideas hashed out from those meetings.

“But nothing is set in stone,” he added, saying that a more collaborative approach with fellow lawmakers would ultimately shape legislation.

Other options include: measures to extend health information technology funding to more provider types; an increase in graduate medical education payments to help boost the ranks of primary-care doctors; methods to curb fraud and abuse in government health programs; and ways to tighten quality within the Medicare Advantage program.

The committee will meet Wednesday to further discuss the options.

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