First few Article Sentences
Physician reimbursement has been central to the extensive debate over health care reform. Understanding the essentials of physician reimbursement is fundamental to understanding healthcare finance, the recently approved changes to our health care system, and how to respond as those changes take effect.
Any examination of physician reimbursement should begin with a discussion of Medicare. When it was initiated in 1966, Medicare paid physicians based on physicians' usual and customary charges. The program was originally intended to cover only acute illnesses. The federal government worked with physicians to develop the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding system, which became the standard for submitting physician billing to Medicare.