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$128B SGR Repeal Deal Needs a Payment Plan

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, February 10, 2014

There appears to be widespread agreement that doctors should play a role in setting the rules for the new quality assessment system and other reforms needed to achieve value-based Medicare reimbursement.

"It brings physicians into developing these quality measures," Schwartz's aide said the SGR repeal deal.

Sherman says, "There needs to be physician leadership in developing that value-based format," he said. "If it's handed down without physician input, it's not going to have physicians on board from the get-go."

"We cannot afford, neither for ourselves or our patients, not to be part of the process," Sherman said of doctors. "I want it to stay an attractive profession."

March 31 Deadline Looms
Lawmakers face a tight deadline to replace SGR before its three-month patch expires, adding that reaching a comprehensive deal will get harder as Election Day nears.

"They need to move or they will face another short-term patch," said Nicholas Manetto, a director and strategic communications specialist at Washington DC-based FaegreBD Consulting. "The more time that goes on, the less likely this is to get done. The next step is to get this expedited, especially the offsets."

The latest estimate from the House committees places the cost of implementing the SGR repeal deal at $128 billion, according to Schwartz's legislative aid. She says that figure does not include so-called extenders, a set of Medicare policies including therapy services and rural hospitals.

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