Physicians Go to Capitol Hill to Testify on Medicare's Physician Payment System

Physicians testified in front of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee today to discuss Medicare's Physician Payment System, according to a C-Span report.

This marks the Senate committee's third recent hearing on the physician payment system. Medical leaders, including Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, the president-elect of the American Medical Association, prepared testimony. Dr. Hoven discussed the need to eliminate the Medicare sustainable growth rate, the formula used to adjust Medicare physician payment rates, and replace it with a system to support high-quality, high-value care.

The SGR for the 2013 calendar year would cut physician payment rates by 27 percent. However, every year since 2003, Congress has bypassed the SGR to ensure there would be not cuts to physician Medicare payments. CMS officials endorse a full repeal of the SGR, which would cost more than $300 billion but eliminate the need for Congress to implement an annual temporary fix. Bipartisan legislation is moving through Congress to abolish the SGR formula.  

"We are very pleased that there is bipartisan discussion of how to eliminate this failed system of the past that discourages physician practice innovations and leaves Medicare patients at risk of facing access to care problems," Dr. Hoven said in her statement. "Restructuring our Medicare payment and delivery system is an enormous undertaking that requires initial immediate steps that can advance us further down the road, combined with a long-term strategy that takes us to the finish line."  

Click here to read Dr. Hoven's written testimony to the Senate Finance Committee.  

More Articles Related to Physician Payment System:

30 Figures on Proposed Medicare Physician Payments for 2013
8 Recent Medicare, Medicaid Issues
6 Points on the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule for 2013

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