American College of Cardiology Urges Congress to Heed Warnings of SGR Panel

Contact: Beth Casteel,, 202-375-6275

Washington, DC (October 27, 2011)—Congress members Phil Roe and Allyson Schwartz showed strong leadership in bringing a bi-partisan panel together to talk about resolving the issue of the flawed physician payment system rather than pushing the problem down the road, said American College of Cardiology President David Holmes, MD, FACC.

The speakers at today's briefing—Mark McClellan of the Brookings Institution, Joseph Antos of AEI, and Stuart Guterman of the Commonwealth Fund—described the many problems with the current Medicare payment formula. McClellan noted the "good ideas" within medical specialties that are improving quality and lowering cost, including the use of data registries in cardiology.

"As the panel made clear, putting another band-aid on the problem is not a viable solution," Dr. Holmes said. "The American College of Cardiology urges Congress to hear the concerns raised by this panel and provide a stable system for physicians and patients that realistically covers the costs of providing care. We agree the focus should be on improving quality and lowering costs, and the tools are available within the ACC and other medical societies to do this using data-driven approaches."

"The American College of Cardiology believes it is fiscally irresponsible for Congress to continue allowing the debt accumulated from years of Medicare physician reimbursement patches to grow," Dr. Holmes said.

In the briefing, Antos said there seems to be a sense that cutting providers will not impact care, but he believes continuing to cut from providers will negatively impact Medicare beneficiaries. Panelists also agreed on the need to incentivize care coordination by encouraging Medicare to pay physicians for the time it takes to coordinate with other physicians.

More than 115 Members of Congress joined Reps. Roe and Schwartz in sending a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction urging the Committee to include full repeal of the SGR in any final legislative deficit package.

Interview requests for Dr. David Holmes or other ACC spokespersons can be made by contacting Beth Casteel or Rachel Cagan.

About the American College of Cardiology
The American College of Cardiology is transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health through continuous quality improvement, patient-centered care, payment innovation and professionalism. The College is a 39,000-member nonprofit medical society comprised of physicians, surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists and practice managers, and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet its stringent qualifications. The College is a leader in the formulation of health policy, standards and guidelines, and is a staunch supporter of cardiovascular research. The ACC provides professional education and operates national registries for the measurement and improvement of quality care. More information about the association is available online at


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