CMS proposes changes to modernize Medicare

CMS on Thursday proposed changes that would empower clinicians to use their electronic health records (EHRs) to document clinically meaningful information, instead of information that is only for billing purposes.

CMS on Thursday proposed changes that would empower clinicians to use their electronic health records (EHRs) to document clinically meaningful information, instead of information that is only for billing purposes. "Today's reforms proposed by CMS bring us one step closer to a modern health care system that delivers better care for Americans at a lower cost," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "Such a system requires empowering American patients by giving them price and quality transparency and control over their own interoperable health records, goals supported by CMS’s proposals." The proposal would also modernize Medicare payment policies to promote access to virtual care, saving Medicare beneficiaries time and money while improving their access to high-quality services no matter where they live. Such changes would establish Medicare payment for when beneficiaries connect with their doctor virtually using telecommunications technology to determine whether they need an in-person visit. Additionally, the proposal would make changes to quality reporting requirements to focus on measures that most significantly impact health outcomes. Removing unnecessary paperwork requirements through the proposal would save individual clinicians an estimated 51 hours per year if 40% of their patients are in Medicare. Other provisions seek to advance virtual care and lower drug costs.