HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made a pledge to work with physicians to permanently repeal Medicare's sustainable growth-rate formula at the American Medical Association's National Advocacy Conference in Washington.
A temporary fix to the SGR, which is based on the health of the economy and triggered a 21% cut to doctors on March 1, is inadequate, Sebelius said. “We are committed to working with all of you on a permanent fix, so you don't have to spend your precious time coming to Washington” to lobby for an SGR repeal, she told conferees.
The 21% cut went into effect following the Senate's inability to act on a temporary measure to halt the scheduled reduction last week. To ward off the effects of this cut at least temporarily, the CMS has since instructed its contractors to hold claims on Medicare physician payments for the first 10 business days of March.