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Doc Groups Respond Over Proposal to Extend SGR Delay Three More Years

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, May 24, 2010

"While we are disappointed that the bill does not provide the permanent payment reform that we and the physician community have been seeking, it takes a step in the right direction," Epperly added. "We will continue to work with Congress to find a permanent payment formula that includes the precedent of improved and differential payment for primary care physicians."

Noting opposition to the proposal earlier this week in the Senate because the payment formula was not paid for through reductions in spending or increases in revenues, AAFP is calling for its members to contact their senators to tell them to ensure the pending 21% reduction does not go into effect on June 1.

American College of Physicians President J. Fred Ralston, Jr., said that ACP was "particularly pleased" that for 2012 and 2013 the update for all physician services will be "held to a growth rate that is higher than the current SGR formula" and that "an extra allowance for primary and preventive care" will be included, with a statutory guarantee that payments could not be reduced in 2012 or 2013.

However, "permanent repeal of the SGR remains essential," Ralston said. "We are committed to working with Congress to ensure that a new payment framework, including more appropriate spending targets for all services and increased allowances for primary care and preventive services, is permanently enacted into law before payments revert to the current law formula in 2014."

American College of Cardiology President Ralph Brindis, MD, said that while his organization will continue to "push for a permanent payment solution," they are encouraging the House to pass the "SGR improvements."

“Four years of positive updates will provide physicians with the stability needed, while we look at real ways for true payment reform and eliminating the need for the SGR," he said.


Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at jsimmons@healthleadersmedia.com.

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