After more than an hour of discussion, Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) asked the question that everyone had been skirting. "What should Congress do in January 2013? As the experts, are you ready to present to us a process for a payment methodology that we could institute on January 1 and that would meet the objectives that we all agree on here?" He asked if an update of 1% or 2% next year with some reporting requirements and phased-in pilot programs would enable Congress to delay making specific changes across the board until 2014.
If Sen. Kyl was hoping for a magic bullet he didn't get it from the panel. "We're not going to be able to fix it by Jan. 1, 2013," stated Dr. McAneny. Referring to the reimbursement cut slated to go into effect in 2013, McAneny said it could put "many physician practices and hospitals out of business."
She added that physicians "need a time of stability where we can depend on Medicare not to pull the rug out from under our practices."
At the end of the roundtable, Sen. Baucus asked the physician groups assembled to create specific short-term and long-term SGR fixes for the committee to consider, saying, "We really need your help."