Health Highlights: Oct. 14, 2016

Medicare Overhaul Will Reward Doctor Performance

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Medicare Overhaul Will Reward Doctor Performance

A newly unveiled Medicare overhaul will reward doctors and other healthcare providers for the quality of their work, not just the quantity, U.S. officials say.

The new regulation, presented Friday, creates two payment tracks under Medicare, the massive government-funded insurance program for older adults.

Medicare's 600,000 or so practitioners must choose which track to follow next year, the Associated Press reported.

Those willing to learn new business methods as of 2019 will be rewarded with higher reimbursements through the track called Alternative Payment Models, according to the news report.

These performance-based practices will include reporting quality measures to the government and using electronic medical records, the AP said. While the potential exists for greater reimbursement, under-performers could also risk some financial loss.

Known as MACRA, the regulation stems from 2015 bipartisan legislation passed by Congress and approved by President Barack Obama. The rule is designed to improve health care and curb costs.

How it will affect the 57 million Americans on Medicare won't be known for years.

In response to arguments that the rule is too complicated for small practices, officials have said they'll free more of them from the program.

Medicare, meanwhile, is asking for public comment.

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