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Support for SGR repeal bill builds among physician societies

By Jennifer Bresnick

The American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) and American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) have joined the American Medical Association (AMA) in adding their support for the SGR Repeal and Medicare Modernization Act of 2014, the bi-partisan attempt to fix the flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate metrics in place since 1997.

“After 17 years of short-term fixes, it’s time for a more permanent solution,” said Peter Angood, MD, President and CEO of the ACPE. “As physician leaders, we support a solution to Medicare funding challenges that fosters a higher-quality, cost-effective system of care. The piecemeal, politically-charged approach offered by the SGR has been a burden on the health care industry for far too long.”

The legislation would not only stabilize the incremental increases in Medicare reimbursement for physicians to match the rising cost of doing business, but would also modify payment structures to reflect the growing interest in pay-for-performance reimbursements.  The EHR Incentive Programs and several other quality measures would be rolled into one merit-based payment system to incentivize care coordination, population health management, and reduced waste.

Earlier this week, the AMA voiced its approval of the patch, urging lawmakers to finalize their plans as quickly as possible to avoid a significant cut in Medicare reimbursements still slated to go ahead after the recent 3-month fix approved by Congress expires.

“Congress must seize this opportunity to strengthen Medicare and end the costly pattern of short-term patches to a flawed formula that has frustrated physicians, threatened access for beneficiaries, and created a budgetary dilemma from which Congress has struggled to emerge for more than a decade,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, in a public statement.

“We recognize this is just the first step in what will be a long and iterative process toward long-term reform,” Angood added. “We at ACPE stand ready to help Congress in any way possible in their efforts to find a better solution to physician reimbursement.”

“This legislation represents a major milestone in physicians’ nearly 10-year battle to repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate formula used to calculate Medicare reimbursement,” said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “The Academy applauds the efforts of the members of the Senate Committee on Finance, the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for their efforts in developing this bipartisan legislation. Ophthalmology joins our colleagues across medicine in strongly urging lawmakers to pass this legislation in order to protect the viability of physicians’ practices and ensure beneficiaries have access to the highest quality medical and surgical care available.”





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