ACPE Asks Members of Congress to Move Quickly to End ‘Doc Fix’

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Proposed legislation will encourage providers to develop higher-quality, cost-effective care.

The American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) today urged members of Congress to move expeditiously to pass proposed legislation that would change the way physicians and hospitals are reimbursed for treating Medicare patients.

The proposal, which is scheduled for markup by the Senate Finance Committee Thursday, would repeal the outdated Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), a move that is long overdue, said ACPE CEO Peter Angood, MD.

“Clearly, the politically charged, piecemeal approach to averting reimbursement cuts required by the SGR formula has not worked,” Angood said. “As physician leaders, we support a solution to Medicare funding challenges that fosters a higher-quality, cost-effective system of care.”

In addition to repealing the SGR, the proposal before the Finance Committee would offer physicians financial incentives for participating in alternative payment models, such as bundled payments and accountable care organizations. It also increases funding for performance measure development and evaluation, and targets Medicare fraud and abuse.

The SGR was created in 1997 as a means of controlling Medicare spending by linking it to the country’s economic growth rate. The result has been an annual last-minute patch or “doc fix” so that reimbursement to doctors from Medicare is not slashed.

The proposed legislation also moves physicians away from the traditional fee-for-service model toward one that is value based. The end result will be better for both patients and providers, Angood said.

“We recognize this is just the first step in what will be a long and iterative process toward long-term reform,” he said. “After 16 years of short-term fixes, it's time for a more permanent solution.”

About ACPE: ACPE is the nation’s oldest and largest medical management educational association for physicians. The organization represents nearly 11,000 high-level physician leaders from health care organizations across the U.S. and throughout the world.


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Carrie Johnson
American College of Physician Executives
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