CMS Home-Care Pilot: A Bonus to Practitioners?

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The potential up-side to making house-calls? There’s little else for a physician to bill but a “professional component” that yields a 10-percent bonus in Geographic HPSAs.

At least, that is one implication from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) 8-month-old program, known as the Independence At Home Demonstration.

So far, the Independence program consists of 16 independent physician offices and three medical groups from across the United States, testing to see if more in-home physician care can reduce hospitalizations and reduce the overall costs of patient care. If successful, the Medicare-based program could expand further and be available to physicians nation-wide.

CMS is mostly concerned about the costs of care, but wise physicians and group practice administrators take note: when a physician acts alone in a patient’s house, there is little room to bill for something other than that doctor’s professional expertise. The only activity for which a physician can receive 10-percent HPSA bonus is on the professional work — so maybe house calls are worth a little more time and attention after all.

More about the program is available here.

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