Unprecedented Progress Made Towards SGR Repeal

Less than two weeks ahead of when the latest Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) patch is set to expire, the House has introduced the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1470), legislation that would permanently repeal the flawed formula. Companion legislation, S. 810, has been introduced in the Senate as well.

Last year, the entire house of medicine and three congressional committees of jurisdiction agreed upon legislation that would not only repeal the SGR but also create new pathways for clinicians to participate in alternative payment and health care delivery models. The latest bicameral, bipartisan proposal, which would increase stability in the health care system for Medicare patients and providers, mirrors last year’s legislation.

Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Permanently repeal the SGR and avert scheduled reimbursement cuts
  • Provide a 0.5 percent positive update for Medicare payments for five years and provide for the transition to new payment models
  • Combine existing quality reporting programs into one "value-based performance program"

You can play an important role in the fight against the SGR by contacting your lawmakers and telling them to finish the job. Click here to send a pre-populated letter to your legislators. Please take the short time necessary to send this letter – for your patients and your profession. Even if you have already sent a letter, please do so again and urge your colleagues to do the same. Flooding congressional offices with messages of support is essential.

"The American College of Cardiology, along with over 750 medical societies, is urging Congress to correct this ongoing threat," said ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC, in a statement. "We commend the leadership of both parties for this initial step, and strongly urge all of Congress to continue the unprecedented momentum toward solving this problem once and for all."

If Congress fails to act by the March 31 deadline, Medicare reimbursements will be cut by 21 percent. In a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, the ACC joined together with over 750 state and national medical associations to urge Congress to permanently repeal the SGR, which has plagued medicine and threatened patient access for nearly two decades. In the letter, the medical community pressed Congress to continue the progress that has been made and enact legislation that maximizes high-quality, patient-centered care while reducing health care costs.

In addition to the aforementioned letter to Congress and relentless ongoing communication with individual congressional offices, your ACC, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and several other organizations are running an SGR repeal ad in Roll Call that targets lawmakers.

Keywords: Health Care Costs, Health Expenditures, Leadership, Medical Oncology, Medicare, Social Change, Patient-Centered Care, Societies, Medical, United States

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