As work continues on Capitol Hill to reform the Medicare physician payment system and to permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, the AOA urges Congress to swiftly move toward approving a final legislative solution for this problem that has now spanned more than a decade. Temporary patches that freeze payment levels impede access to quality care for Medicare patients, and are no longer a financially viable option for Congress, Medicare and physicians.
The AOA is encouraged by recent progress made by the House Energy & Commerce Committee in developing a proposal that addresses many of the problems with the current payment system. Consistent with the AOA’s highest priorities for reform, the proposal permanently repeals the SGR, incorporates positive payment updates to all physicians during a five-year period of stability, authorizes new "alternative payment models" coupled with a quality-enhanced fee-for-service model, builds on and improves the existing Physician Quality Reporting System, and provides additional incentives for physicians qualifying as a medical home who provide care coordination for patients with complex chronic conditions.
At no other time has there been a stronger opportunity to seize the lowered cost of repeal and the continued bipartisan interest in permanently moving to a stable Medicare payment system for physicians. The AOA implores Congress to build on this momentum and ensure that payment reform legislation is enacted into law this year.