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Lawmakers Mull SGR Options

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, May 8, 2013

The panelists and House committee members reviewed these broad concerns:

Stability
David Hoyt, MD, FACS, executive director of the American College of Surgeons, recommended that as the system transitions to value, physician payment stability be maintained for five years and tied to inflation.

The effort would allow stakeholders to ensure that "payment measures and quality measures, which will serve as the backbone of the new system, are properly aligned. That will take some time."

Transition
Charles Cutler, MD, chair of the board of regents of the American College of Physicians, also supports a phased-in approach that would allow physicians reasonable time to "get on a transitional value-based purchasing pathway that works for their specialty, practice setting, and patient population."

Small practices
"Can small physician practices do well in the new value system?" Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) asked the panel. Patrick Courneya, MD, the medical director for Minneapolis-based Health Partners, remarked that because he is from a small community in Minnesota, he is personally interested in making sure that any SGR replacement works for both small and individual practices.

"I think those one- and two-physician practices are the ones most burdened by the current FFS payment model. The only way their business can get payment for the work they do is [to] be on the treadmill running as fast as they can."

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