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IOM Holds Second Webinar on Geographic Variations, Releases New Tool

October 19, 2012—The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Geographic Adjustment Factors in Medicare Payment Oct. 17 held the second webinar in a series that will discuss its findings and recommendations, as outlined in recent report entitled, “Geographic Adjustment in Medicare Payment Phase II: Implications for Access, Quality, and Efficiency” [see Washington Highlights, July 20].  During the second webinar, titled, “The Impact of Recommended Changes to Improve Accuracy of Geographic Adjustment in Medicare Payment:  Key Findings and Policy Implications from IOM Payment Simulations,”  members of the task force summarized the recommendations from the first and second reports and introduced a tool to allow people to easily identify the impact of the recommendations for a specific location.

As part of its work, the IOM hired RTI International to simulate the potential effect on different localities should all of the recommendations to improve technical accuracy be adopted. The website streamlines the simulation data of the more-than-200-page report.  The IOM plans to tweak the website after it receives feedback on the tool during its one-week beta test.

Stuart Guterman, study director and IOM committee member, discussed the recommendations made by the committee regarding the Medicare payment system. He described the current system as multiple sets of payment areas that are defined differently for facility-based services and physician services; there are inconsistent data sources across data systems; and there is a limited selection of occupations taken into account.

The committee recommends a single set of payment areas (both for hospitals and physicians to use metropolitan statistical areas), accurate and independent data sources, and a wide range of occupations from a single source.

Guterman also said the committee recommends Medicare should re-examine its policies that provide location-based adjustments for specific groups of hospitals and modify or discontinue them based on their effectiveness and ensuring adequate access to appropriate care.


Mary Patton Wheatley, M.S.
Director, Health Care Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6297

Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806