Healthcare Business News

AMA, medical societies offer guidelines on shift from SGR

By Jaimy Lee
Posted: October 15, 2012 - 5:00 pm ET

The American Medical Association and more than 100 state and specialty medical societies issued a set of principles (PDF) that they say can support a federal transition from the sustainable growth-rate formula to a “higher performing Medicare program.”

In an Oct. 15 letter to Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the groups called for lawmakers to repeal the Medicare physician payment formula, arguing that eliminating the SGR formula is essential to the development of a high performing Medicare program.

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“The sustainable growth-rate formula is an enormous impediment to successful healthcare delivery and payment reforms that can improve the quality of patient care while lowering growth in costs,” the groups said in the letter.

They recommended that the transition plan allow physicians opportunities to choose their own payment models, steer clear of using penalties and provide a way for physicians to demonstrate they are taking accountability for quality and cost issues.

“Today, we offer principles that should be the foundation of a new system that supports physicians in improving the delivery of care with payment options that benefit patients, physicians and the Medicare program,” said AMA President Dr. Jeremy Lazarus in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the AMA said the same letter was also sent to the chairs and ranking members of the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees.

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