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Physicians Drifting Towards Single-Payer Support


A recent Merritt Hawkins survey found 56 percent of docs in support of single-payer healthcare due to a variety of reasons, including feelings of inevitably.

Welcome to Practice Rounds, our weekly column exploring what's being covered in the larger world of healthcare.

Survey: Docs are Warming up to Single-Payer Model

In a recent Merritt Hawkins survey, 56 percent of doctors were found to support single-payer healthcare. The results represent a big change from those of the same survey in 2008, where 58 percent of respondents opposed a single-payer system.

The change is due to three main reasons, according to Merritt Hawkins, a physician recruitment firm who spoke to more than 1,000 docs for the survey. First, docs seek clarity and stability in healthcare reform. Next, it's a generational issue, as young docs come up, there is less resistance to a single-payer format. And lastly, there is a feeling of resignation among docs who believe single-payer is inevitable so it should be adopted sooner rather than later. 

AMA Launches New MIPS Tool for Providers

The American Medical Association (AMA) has released a new tool to help prepare clinicians for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The tool is called the "MIPS Action Plan," and leads physicians through the necessary steps to avoid penalties in the Medicare payment program while helping chart their performance.

The new tool is designed to dynamically measure a clinician's performance against important dates for adherence and recommended steps. Content specific to a clinician will appear depending on which options she selects. AMA-recommended due dates will be provided for each step, along with specific CMS deadlines. If a clinician participates in the payment program's Alternative Payment Model (APM) pathway, different rules may apply.

Surveys have shown most physicians are not ready to participate in MIPS, and most do not have knowledge of the steps they need to take to avoid penalties, according to the AMA.

EpiPen Manufacturer Settles on Medicaid Overcharge

On Thursday, drug maker Mylan reached a deal with federal authorities to pay $465 million to settle claims that it overcharged the Medicaid program by millions of dollars for its EpiPen products.

The EpiPen was claimed to have been misclassified, an issue that was brought to the U.S. Attorney's Office in 2014 by Sanofi, a competing pharmaceutical manufacturer, leading to an investigation.

At the time, Mylan said EpiPen, which delivers an emergency shot of epinephrine to counter severe allergic reactions, had been classified as a generic drug since before the company acquired the product in 2007. The U.S. attorney's office found that Mylan continued to classify EpiPen as a generic, although it marketed and priced it as a brand-name drug, according to TheWall Street Journal.

Under the Medicaid drug-rebate program, pharmaceutical companies pay a rebate to states for prescription drugs dispensed to Medicaid patients to offset the cost. The program requires higher rebates on brand-name drugs than on generic versions, which are generally cheaper because of competition. The terms of the agreement state that Mylan will reclassify EpiPen as an innovator drug and will pay the rebate applicable to innovator products effective as of April 1, 2017.

Quote of the week:

Documenting in the EHR and Focusing on the Patient

"If [the physician] hates [the EHR], that attitude will come across in direct and indirect messages the patient and family will pick up. The opposite is also true. If they believe that the [EHR] as a net positive, that will also come across." - Daniel Clark, senior vice president of consulting at The Advisory Board.

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