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HHS ANNOUNCES INCREASED MEDICARE FEES TO PHYSICIANS IN 1994

 WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The fees Medicare pays to physicians will be increased in 1994 by 10 percent for surgical services, 7.9 percent for primary care services and 5.3 percent for other non-surgical services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna E. Shalala announced today.
 The annual updates for the Medicare physician fee schedule, effective Jan. 1, 1994, are published in today's Federal Register.
 Although the inflation rate for the costs of medical practice is projected at 2.3 percent in 1994, Medicare fees are being increased at greater rates because of a formula set by law.
 The formula rewards doctors because increases in Medicare spending for physician services in fiscal year 1992 were less than the goals established by Medicare Volume Performance Standards for that year.
 Bruce C. Vladeck, administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), said 1994 will be the first year in which primary care services will have a special category in annual updates of the fee schedule, recognizing their importance in the health care delivery system.
 "In a health care system overloaded with costly specialization, the Clinton administration supports this move toward providing greater incentives for expanding the availability of primary care services," Vladeck said.
 The notice in the Federal Register establishes the Medicare Volume Performance Standards for FY 1994. The goals allow an 8.6 percent growth rate of Medicare spending for surgical services, 10.5 percent for primary care services and 9.2 percent for other non-surgical services.
 The performance of physicians in relation to those standards can affect the fee updates for 1996.
 Vladeck said the administration believes the statutory formula for computing the goals should be revised because it provides for needlessly high growth rates in expenditures.
 Factors considered in creating the Medicare Volume Performance Standards include the estimated inflation rate, the anticipated increase in the number of Medicare beneficiaries, change in the age composition of the beneficiary population and increase in the number of services provided.
 -0- 12/2/93
 /CONTACT: Anne Verano of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 202-690-6145/


CO: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU: EXE

DT-MH -- DC011 -- 9782 12/02/93 11:51 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 2, 1993
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