"For far too long, the doc fix has been annual ritual for Congress. It's time to put that ritual to an end," Hatch said. "I'm proud of this legislation. It not only fully repeals the broken sustainable growth rate formula, but puts in place real reforms that move Medicare away from a fee-for-service model that promotes greater spending to one that encourages better results."
The joint statement from Congress listed the following highlights of the SGR repeal and replacement deal:
- Repeal the SGR and end the annual threat to seniors' care, while instituting a 0.5 percent payment update for five years.
- Improve the fee-for-service system by streamlining Medicare's existing web of quality programs into one value-based performance program. It increases payment accuracy and encourages physicians to adopt proven practices.
- Incentivize movement to alternative payment models to encourage doctors and providers to focus more on coordination and prevention to improve quality and reduce costs.
- Make Medicare more transparent by giving patients more access to information and supplying doctors with data they can use to improve care.
'The SGR Problem'
Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, president of the American Medical Association, praised the deal in a prepared statement Thursday: