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SGR Repeal Deal Reached; Funding Details Still Outstanding
Posted on: 2/7/2014

Burning the "midnight oil" earlier this week, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee reached a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to repeal and replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

Some of the main provisions of this negotiated bill include the immediate repeal of the SGR; positive annual payment updates of 0.5 percent for five years; and a standard of care provision (advocated by ISMS) to ensure that quality measures in Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA are not misused to establish an easy avenue for medical liability lawsuits.

The legislation now advances to both chambers of Congress. However, one very large hitch remains: Congress has yet to come up with a plan for funding this proposal.

Finding the funds will likely generate controversy; thus, a proposal for a "nine-month patch" has surfaced. ISMS strongly opposes another temporary Band-Aid - physicians and patients need a permanent repeal. The price tag alone for all patches thus far under the SGR umbrella has reached an astounding $153 billion!

In the meantime, time is of the essence as the March 31 deadline looms for the 24 percent cut to Medicare physician payments ... still driven by the SGR.

ISMS awaits the AMA's analysis of the SGR repeal legislation (H.R. 4015, SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act) and soon will have more details for members. We will keep you informed of new developments via our website and Weekly Rounds.

Stay tuned!

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