New Rules Boost Support for Latino Primary & Mental Healthcare


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Medicare provides health coverage for most Americans when they reach age 65 or have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for 24 months. Medicare also currently covers a portion of the health care costs of over 55 million Americans, including almost 4.1 million Latinos. New rules passed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will now add even more support to Latinos seeking primary and mental healthcare services, Healthcare Dive reports.

CMS recently finalized the 2017 Physician Fee Schedule final rule which recognizes the importance of primary care by allowing for improved payment for chronic care management and behavioral health. The new final rule is part of a broad strategy to create a healthcare system that offers “better care, smarter spending, and healthier people.”

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The new policies will change how Medicare pays for services provided by primary care physicians and other practitioners for patients that have multiple chronic conditions and mental and behavioral issues. Patients will cognitive impairment will also benefit from the new rules.

“These policies will give significant support to the practice of primary care and boost the time a physician can spend with his or her patients listening, advising and coordinating their care,” said CMS Acting Administrator Slavitt. “By better valuing primary care, behavioral health, and prevention models like the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program expanded model, we help beneficiaries access the services they need to stay well and live long, healthy lives.”

Read more about the Medicare changes from CMS here.

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