Practice Economics

Hospitalists Get Answers to Tough Healthcare Questions


When it comes to Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and a host of other healthcare-reform-related topics, hospitalists have lots of good questions, such as:

  • When does the Physician Value-Based Payment Modifier (VBPM) take effect? And will I be included?
  • Which primary-care services are covered by the increased Medicaid payments?
  • Are hospitalists eligible to bill for Medicare’s new CPT Transitional Care Management (TCM) codes? (see “New Codes Bridge Billing Gap,”).

Now, SHM’s Public Policy Committee has answered all of the above—and many more—in a set of three “Frequently Asked Questions” documents available at Each document goes in-depth on the most cutting-edge policy issues that are top of mind for hospitalists and the hospitals they serve on these issues:

The Physician Value-Based Payment Modifier (VBPM): The VBPM seeks to connect cost and quality of services in order to begin reimbursement for the value, rather than the quantity, of care. It combines the quality measuring in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), cost measures, and a payment adjustment for physicians. Measurement begins this year, and many hospitalists will be included.

Medicaid/Medicare parity regulation: On Nov. 1, 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final regulations implementing Section 1202 of the Affordable Care Act, which increases Medicaid payments for specified primary-care services to 100% of Medicare levels in 2013 and 2014.

New CPT Transitional Care Management (TCM) codes 99495-99496: CMS has created two new CPT Transitional Care Management (TCM) codes designed to improve care coordination and provide better incentives to ensure patients are seen in a physician’s office, rather than be at risk for readmission.

New Action: Getting Involved Just Got Easier

SHM’s Legislative Action Center also makes getting involved easier with a new grassroots outreach tool called Voter Voice. SHM’s first action alert on Voter Voice was sent to members in December. Hospitalists’ willingness to take a few minutes and contact their congressional leaders using Voter Voice increased SHM’s visibility to Congress by nearly five times compared with prior similar alerts.

Getting involved is easy and only takes a few seconds. You can use either your ZIP code to look up your members of Congress or search active legislation by keyword. SHM members can sign up for SHM Legislative Action Center alerts by entering their email address.

To download the new SHM advocacy FAQs or use the improved Legislative Action Center, visit

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