Congressional Committees Unanimously Vote to Repeal SGR
On Dec. 12, the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee both voted unanimously (39-0 and by voice vote respectively) to repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and reform physician payment. This development came just a day after the ACC sent a letter to the Committees thanking them for working to repeal the SGR and urging them to finalize legislation.
“Removing the uncertainty caused by the sustainable growth rate formula is a positive step for physicians and their patients. Eliminating this flawed system rather than providing last-minute fixes year after year will allow physicians to focus on providing quality patient care,” said ACC President John G. Harold, MD, MACC, in a statement. “The legislation approved in the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees includes measures that emphasize quality and the use of evidence-based care, which will be a positive step for patient care. The ACC has long supported a payment system that rewards quality care.”
While considerable progress has been made on the road to SGR repeal, time has run out for a permanent fix this in 2013. The good news is that the foundation has been laid for repealing the formula in 2014.
Just before going on recess, the House and Senate passed a budget agreement that would replace for three months the 24 percent SGR cut scheduled for Jan. 1, 2014 with a 0.5 percent payment update. Now, the budget framework has been sent to the President, who is expected to sign it. This will give the House and Senate time in early 2014 to reconcile their differences for the bill and tackle the challenging task of finding offsets.
Stay tuned to CardioSource .org and the ACC Advocate for developments on SGR repeal in the New Year.
Keywords: Physicians, Uncertainty, Patient Care, Budgets, Reward
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