Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the final rule on November 01, 2012 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,” Secretary Sebelius said. “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 goes into effect in January of 2013.
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.