Physicians Ask Congress for SGR Alternatives

John Commins, May 30, 2012

Physicians' advocates have asked Congress to scrap Medicare's widely reviled sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment scheme and replace it with flexible payment options that reward quality and efficiency.

The House Ways & Means Committee in April had asked the American Medical Association and the Medical Group Management Association to suggest alternatives to the SGR, which is scheduled for a 30.9% reduction on Jan. 1, 2013.

AMA CEO James L. Madara, MD, in a May 25 letter to the committee said any cost-efficient payment model redesigns should give physicians the resources and flexibility to keep patients healthier, improve care coordination, manage chronic conditions, reduce duplication of services, and prevent avoidable admissions. 

"For Medicare's physician payment system to move in this direction, there needs to be a transition period with opportunities for physicians to move into innovative payment and delivery models in ways that enable them to gain skills and experience in taking accountability for improving care and lowering growth in costs," Madara wrote.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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