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Congress must 'go big' on physician payment reform
Date:11/3/2011

Washington-- The American College of Physicians (ACP) today told the 112th Congress to "go big" by reforming Medicare payments, including enacting a permanent end to scheduled Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) physician payment cuts. The urgent need for Congress to act was demonstrated by today's release of a Medicare final rule, announcing a 27.4 percent across-the-board cut in Medicare payments to doctors on January 1, 2012. This cut, although slightly less than previously estimated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), would create devastating access problems for patients, and would more than offset modest improvements in primary care and other undervalued services also included in the rule.

ACP noted that going smallenacting a short-term fix to prevent the January 1 cutwill add hundreds of billions of dollars to projected Medicare spending compared to a permanent solution, continue to endanger patient access to doctors and create roadblocks to promising new models to improve outcomes and lower the costs of care.

A framework for "going big" on physician payment reform would include:

  • Stable payments to prevent scheduled cuts to physician services for five years and provide for higher annual updates for undervalued primary care services.
  • Over the next five years, engage in expanded and accelerated implementation and evaluation of innovative payment and delivery models, including models being developed by the Center on Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, such as the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Advance Payment and Pioneer ACOs and bundled payments.
  • Create opportunities for physicians who voluntarily participate in such models, and/or other programs that meet designated criteria related to quality improvement, clinical effectiveness, and cost savings to earn higher updates.
  • Establish a timetable, to be set by statute, for physicians to begin
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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