Berwick Calls for Permanent Fee Fix in First Appearance Before Congress

CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, MD, called for removal of the current physician payment formula in his first appearance before Congress, according to a report by AHA News Now.

Speaking before the Senate Finance Committee, Dr. Berwick said healthcare providers need "stable and predictable payments" to weather changes as healthcare reforms begin to be implemented.

Under the current payment formula, physicians face a 23 percent cut in Medicare payments on Dec. 1 unless Congress postpones the cuts. The need for regular Congressional fee fixes will continue unless lawmakers replace the sustainable growth rate formula behind the cuts.

Republicans who vowed to grill Dr. Berwick about his plans to implement healthcare reforms had little opportunity to do so at the hearing, which was closely controlled by Democratic majority. The Hill said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called the hearing "pathetic."

Read the AHA News Now report on Don Berwick.

See the Senate Finance Committee video of the hearing.  

Read more coverage of Don Berwick:

- GOP Lawmakers Prepare to Grill CMS Administrator Don Berwick

- CMS Administrator Dr. Don Berwick Comments on Reform, System Integration, New Payment Methods

- 7 Planned Actions Against Healthcare Reform Upon GOP Takeover of Key House Committee

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