AMA chides Congress on SGR

The American Medical Association has again taken Congress to task for the way it deals with potential cuts in Medicare payments to physicians, and has asked for a long-term solution to address the issue, according to American Medical News.

"Congress needs not only to stop it, but they need to do it in a responsible manner--for a change," AMA President Cecil Wilson said at the AMA annual meeting in San Diego last week. "The nonchalant way they dealt with these cuts in the past year played havoc on physicians' practices," he said. "Some physicians had to seek loans to meet payroll and keep their doors open. Many deferred their own compensation. All because Congress dithered and delayed."

The AMA is requesting a 13-month "patch" to the sustainable growth rate formula because they don't expect the current session of Congress, particularly given it's lame-duck status, to address the issue when it reconvenes next week.

Physician payments are set to be cut 23 percent by Dec. 1 and an additional 2 percent on Jan. 1. Congress has often acted in the past to prevent such deep cuts, but in a piecemeal fashion.

According to an AMA-authorized poll, 94 percent of Americans are concerned about the future cuts in payment. The AMA has also taken out ads about the issue in USA Today and other publications.

"The priority is to eliminate the SGR. Toss it overboard. Drown that sucker," Wilson said.

For more:
- read the American Medical News article
- read the AMA press release here