On Friday, March 15, 2013, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released its annual report to Congress in which it recommended annual rate adjustments for Medicare’s fee-for-service providers.  A copy of the 435-page report is available here and the executive summary is available here.

Specifically, MedPAC made recommendations related to inpatient and outpatient hospitals; physicians and other health care providers; ambulatory surgical centers; outpatient dialysis; skilled nursing facilities; home health agencies; inpatient rehabilitation facilities; long-term care hospitals; and hospice.  In addition, MedPAC’s March report also discussed the status of the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs.

MedPAC is required by Congress to provide annual “updates” – or changes to Medicare payment policies.  While MedPAC is widely seen as an influential body, its recommendations have no force of law – Congress must enact legislation to implement MedPAC’s recommendations.