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November 8, 2012

Law delivers higher payments to primary care physicians

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the final rule implementing the part of the health care law that delivers higher payments to primary care physicians serving Medicaid beneficiaries.   

The new rule raises rates to ensure doctors are paid the same for treating Medicare and Medicaid patients and does not raise costs for states. 

“The health care law will help physicians serve millions of Americans across the country,” Sebelius said in a media release. “By improving payments for primary care services, we are helping Medicaid patients get the care they need to stay healthy and treat small health problems before they become big ones.”

The final rule implements the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that Medicaid pay physicians practicing in family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatric medicine and related subspecialists at Medicare levels in calendar years 2013 and 2014.

This payment increase will go into effect in January.

In addition to payment improvements, the health care law includes numerous initiatives designed to bolster primary care and strengthen the primary care workforce, including an expansion of medical residency positions for primary care physicians, new investments in physician assistant and nurse practitioner training, and an unprecedented expansion of the National Health Service Corps, which provides scholarships and loan repayments to primary care providers who practice in underserved areas.

For more information about the final rule, visit www.cms.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp.

To view a copy of the final rule, visit www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx

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