[MMA News Now, Dec. 12, 2013]
Three Minnesota members of Congress recently added their names to a letter asking Congressional leaders to continue the 1.0 Work Geographic Practice Cost Indexes (GPCI) floor, which serves to reduce the geographic disparities in the Medicare reimbursement rates. The Work GPCI floor is scheduled to expire Jan. 1 if nothing is done.
“This adjustment must be extended by Congress this year, or our providers will suffer major cuts, on tops of cuts that could also come from the Sustainable Growth Rate, as of Jan. 1,” said the letter signed by 21 representatives. “Certain providers could see cuts to their reimbursements of as much as 3 percent.”
Minnesotans signing the letter included: Betty McCollum (D –4th District) Tim Walz (D-1st District) and Collin Peterson (D-7th District).
The Medicare payment formula sets differing payment levels throughout the country based on factors called GPCIs, which are designed to reflect cost differences in the location of the practice. These GPCIs have overstressed the difference each year so the large state regions get higher payments than the smaller states, with no relationship to the quality or outcome of the care.
The MMA has worked for many years to eliminate the geographic payment difference in the Medicare program through the Geographic Equity in Medicare (GEM) coalition, which is comprised of 26 state medical societies throughout the country.
“Minnesota physicians are well aware that even though our Medicare outcomes are better than many of the larger states, our payment levels are unjustifiably lower,” said Dave Renner, the MMA’s director of state and federal legislation. “This floor on the Work GPCI is one small way to reduce some of that inequity.”