The ability to receive payment for providing chronic care management (CCM) services to Medicare patients is more than nine months old, but many physicians still don’t know about it.
A new survey found that almost half of 500 physician respondents said they were not aware of the Medicare program, which is aimed at patients with two or more chronic conditions. Yet 62 percent of those surveyed said they, their staff, or a third party contact their Medicare patients with multiple chronic conditions between visits.
The CCM program provides additional payments for those services to eligible patients if they total at least 20 minutes of staff and physician time during the month.
SmartCCM, a Dallas-based company that provides outsourced CCM services to practices, surveyed the physicians online this summer. Forty-four percent of those surveyed were in family medicine or general practice; the remainder were internists and geriatricians. More than eight out of 10 were in private practice.
The survey also asked the physicians about the biggest challenges they face in treating patients with two or more chronic conditions. The challenges raised most often were a lack of time to provide these patients extra guidance and reinforcement on dealing with their conditions (63 percent) and the overall complexity of dealing with multiple conditions (56 percent). Other physician complaints included patients inconsistently adhering to treatment or medication plans, balking at the cost of tests and medication, and calling or visiting too frequently, as well as the practice being unable to monitor patients between visits.
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