Why are the doctors in my area getting higher paychecks?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that it has increased the paychecks of physicians and nursing aides for Medicare beneficiaries who participate in the GAF program, which provides payments for services for Medicare patients with serious medical conditions.

The GAF pays for some health care services such as emergency room visits and nursing home stays, but it also pays for hospitalization, lab tests and other procedures that have traditionally been covered by Medicare.

The increased payments will be made available in the coming months to about 3.3 million eligible physicians and nurses, and to more than 2 million eligible medical aides.

The increases are part of an effort to improve the health care delivery system, which has been plagued by shortages of doctors and nurses.