Contact: Amy Murphy, email@example.com, 202-375-6476
The Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007 (CHAMP Act) (H.R. 3162) passed the House with a vote of 225-204 Wednesday evening. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) urges lawmakers to address serious concerns about this bill’s proposed new physician payment structure.
The CHAMP Act includes much-needed proposals to head off scheduled Medicare payment cuts to doctors totaling 10 percent in 2008 and 5 percent in 2009, replacing them with a small positive update in each of the two years. Without such relief, cardiologists on average are facing a 15 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement in 2008.
Unfortunately, however, the bill also includes a new payment structure based on a system of separate expenditure targets that are arbitrarily set without taking into account the appropriate growth of services provided to Medicare beneficiaries. This type of structure would only perpetuate the flawed payment system. Many services that are critical to the everyday care of cardiovascular patients would be unfairly penalized under a separate expenditure target system unless the targets take into account appropriate growth.
While physicians have a responsibility to help control health care costs through appropriate clinical use of medical services, it is critical that Congress help to fund the development and implementation of tools that will assist physicians in being good stewards of limited health care resources. While the ACC appreciates congressional efforts to stop Medicare physician payment cuts, it is critical that any new payment structure is fair to all physicians. The ACC urges Congress to resolve this issue before any final legislation is passed.
The American College of Cardiology is leading the way to optimal cardiovascular care and disease prevention. The College is a 34,000-member nonprofit medical society and bestows the credential Fellow of the American College of Cardiology upon physicians 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 www.acc.org .