So Close, Yet So Far: What Happened with SGR Vote? > Michigan State Medical Society


So Close, Yet So Far: What Happened with SGR Vote?

After garnering much bipartisan support and getting key congressional committee leaders on board, the AMA, MSMS and the medical community at-large are left reeling over why, at the 11th hour, the US Congress scrapped the bill that would have permanently repealed the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula in favor of the 17th temporary "patch" in 11 years.

"To say that the medical community is disappointed in this missed opportunity would be a profound understatement"" said MSMS President Kenneth Elmassian, DO, an Ingham County anesthesiologist. "The legislation was an affront to the entire profession of medicine, which unanimously opposed it."

The breakdown:
Despite the year-long effort, the problem was that the unprecedented bipartisan, bicameral collaboration that had characterized the policy development phase collapsed when it came to paying for the legislation. Late efforts from the AMA, MSMS and other physician groups failed to convince Congress to prevent political interests from trumping good policy choices by reaching an agreement on an acceptable way to pay for repeal.

The temporary patch means physicians' Medicare reimbursements will not be hit with the 24% cut that was scheduled to take effect Tuesday. The 12-month patch will extend the current 0.5% update through the end of the year and freeze payment rates for the first three months of next year. Meanwhile, MSMS and the AMA will continue to push for permanent SGR repeal.

Bill Delays ICD-10

Also included in the patch bill is a provision that delays the deadline for implementing the ICD-10 code set from October 1 of this year until October 1, 2015.

Find ICD-10 preparation resources >>

Posted in: Medicare