The Alliance of Specialty Medicine wrote to Michael Chernew, the Chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), urging the Commission to recommend a positive Medicare base payment rate update for physicians and other health professional services equal to the Medicare Economic Index.  The first opportunity for MedPAC to do so would be calendar year (CY) 2025.

 The CY 2024 Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) projects the increase in the Medicare Economic Index (MEI) for 2024 will be 4.6 percent, but finalized a payment reduction of 3.37 percent. Unlike other Medicare providers (e.g., hospitals, hospices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, etc.), the Medicare PFS lacks a mechanism to reflect annual inflation. 

“Volatility in Medicare PFS payments has contributed to physicians selling their practices to larger, better-resourced entities,” the letter states.  “The impact of this consolidation remains a concern of policymakers, as well as the Commission, due to its impact on program spending. As the Commission considers broad reforms to the Medicare physician payment system, this disparity should be corrected. In the meantime, for CY 2025, we urge the Commission to recommend that payments for physician and health professional services are updated by the projected increase in the MEI”. 

You can access the entire letter here.  Alliance letter to MedPAC on MEI