Research and Information ? The Mark would invest in research on what treatments work best for which patients and ensure that information is available and accessible to patients and doctors, such as through the establishment of an independent institute to research the effectiveness of different health care treatments and strategies. These provisions are carefully crafted so that patients would never be denied treatment based on age, disability status or other related factors as a result of the research findings.
Transparency – To increase transparency, the Chairman’s Mark would provide patients with information about physician-industry relationships so called “physician payment sunshine,” close loopholes in physician self-referral laws that allow conflicts of interest, and provide patients and families with more information about nursing home facilities and hospital charges to help them make better decisions. The Chairman’s Mark would also require drug manufacturers and distributors to report information they already collect regarding the number and type of drug samples given to physicians. The Mark would also require the nation’s hospitals to make their average charge information for commercial payers and self-pay patients available to the public.
Strengthening Primary Care and Other Healthcare Workforce Improvements
Primary care physicians play a critical role in our health care system. They are vital to reducing costs and improving quality in the health care system. Primary care doctors provide preventive care, help patients make informed medical decisions, assist with care management, and help coordinate with a patient’s other care providers. Despite their critical function, primary care doctors receive significantly lower Medicare payments than other doctors, which has played a role in the current shortage of primary care providers.
Promoting Primary Care To encourage more primary care doctors to be part of the system, the Chairman’s Mark would provide primary care practitioners and targeted general surgeons with a Medicare payment bonus of ten percent for five years.