Hospital outpatient departments are in line for a Medicare rate increase in 2024, but program payments for doctors could decline, according to proposed new policies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last week proposed increasing payments for hospital outpatient services by 2.8%, or about $6 billion. In a separate proposal, it recommended a 1.25% pay decrease for doctors, although rates for some primary services would go up.

"At CMS, our mission is to expand access to health care and ensure that health coverage is meaningful to the people we serve," CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said. "CMS' proposals in the proposed physician payment rule would help people with Medicare navigate cancer treatment and have access to more types of behavioral health providers, strengthen primary care and for the first time, allow Medicare payment for services performed by community health workers."

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