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No Rest for Battle-Weary Docs

By jfellows@healthleadersmedia.com  
   December 11, 2014

Year-end accolades are making the rounds, but physicians can't afford to be distracted from efforts to repeal the despised sustainable growth rate formula, to fight a large commercial payer, and to fund the education of primary care doctors in rural areas.

As 2014 draws to a close, many of us take time to reflect on the year's events. Media companies are no different. On Wednesday Time magazine unveiled its annual Person of the Year. Time picked the Ebola fighters. I agree with that assessment (after all some of them work right here in my hometown of Dallas), and it's difficult to distinguish one person or one group as doing something notable, especially in healthcare.

That's why we have our HealthLeaders 20, an eclectic group of executives, researchers, nurses, doctors, and others, who are making a difference in the industry.

End-of-year lists are fun and can be thought-provoking, but they should not distract from more pressing issues that threaten physician reimbursements.

SGR Déjà Vu
As House and Senate leaders wrap up their lame-duck session in these last weeks of 2014, I can't help but recall that famous Yogi Berra quote, "It's like déjà vu all over again." That's because nearly exactly one year ago, physicians were asking Congress for a permanent fix to the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate, just like they are today.

Another temporary "doc fix" was passed instead, averting the 21% cut in Medicare reimbursement. But, here we are, one year later and the American Medical Association as well as other groups, is still lobbying for a permanent solution.

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Jacqueline Fellows is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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