MedPAC Releases March 2023 Report on Medicare Payment Policy

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

On March 15, 2023, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released its March 2023 Report to the Congress: Medicare Payment Policy. The report includes MedPAC’s analyses of payment adequacy in traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare and reviews the status of Medicare Advantage (MA) and the prescription drug benefit (Part D). This report also satisfies an additional legislative mandate to compare per enrollee spending in the MA program with that of traditional FFS.

Three years into the coronavirus pandemic, Medicare beneficiaries, health care workers, and providers continue to experience the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the coronavirus public health emergency will end in May of this year, COVID-19 variants continue to evolve, and the future effects of coronavirus transmission on the demand for health care services remains uncertain. In this report, we discuss some of the effects of the pandemic on beneficiaries’ access to care and on providers’ revenues and costs. However, a fuller discussion of the pandemic’s effects on beneficiaries and providers is beyond the scope of this report.

The Commission is acutely aware of how providers’ financial status and patterns of Medicare spending varied in 2020 and 2021 from historical trends, as well as the higher and more volatile increases in input costs for several health care sectors that occurred during 2022. Still, our statutory charge is to evaluate available data to assess whether Medicare payments, in aggregate, are sufficient to support the efficient delivery of care and ensure access to care for Medicare’s beneficiaries. In this report, we make recommendations aimed at giving providers incentives to constrain their cost growth and thus help control program spending.

You can view the components of this report via the following hyperlinks, including specific chapters:

Chapter 1:  Context for Medicare payment policy

Chapter 2:  Assessing payment adequacy and updating payments in fee-for-service Medicare

Chapter 3:  Hospital inpatient and outpatient services

Chapter 4:  Physician and other health professional services

Chapter 5:  Ambulatory surgical center services: Status report

Chapter 6:  Outpatient dialysis services

Chapter 7:  Skilled nursing facility services

Chapter 8:  Home health care services

Chapter 9:  Inpatient rehabilitation facility services

Chapter 10:  Hospice services

Chapter 11:  The Medicare Advantage program: Status report

Chapter 12:  The Medicare prescription drug program (Part D): Status report 

Appendix A:  Commissioners’ voting on recommendations

There’s something for every post-acute care provider in MedPAC’s report.