Medicare officials have selected 500 primary care practices to be part of a 4-year pilot project testing the use of care coordination bonuses to improve quality and lower costs.

Under the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, Medicare and some private health plans will pay practices about $20 per patient each month in exchange for offering advanced care coordination services ranging from use of an electronic health record (EHR) to extended office hours. The pilot includes primary care practices in seven regions but could be expanded nationwide if successful.

Meanwhile, federal health officials also rolled out the requirements for Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. The new requirements, which will begin as early as 2014, call for more health information exchange between providers. The rules also require physicians to use a patient portal or some type of secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients.

Source:  Family Medicine Newsletter- Mary Ellen Schneider