AMA wants the total repeal of Medicare fix

The American Medical Association, which has chafed against a potential 29.5 percent Medicare payment reduction to physicians in 2012 as part of the sustainable growth rate formula, has made its own recommendations to Congress to address the matter, reports American Medical News.

The SGR issue is one of concern for hospitals, which would likely have to support physicians in order to guarantee they continue admitting a steady flow of patients to their facilities.

The report released late last week by the Medicare Trustees called for the nearly 30 percent payment reduction to keep the Medicare Trust's finances in line.

"Across the board cuts in Medicare do not get to the root of the cost challenge, and can hamper patients' ability to receive care. Instead of focusing only on cuts, the ultimate goal should be to achieve better value for our healthcare spending," said AMA immediate past president J. James Rohack.

During a Congressional hearing last week, the AMA proposed the complete repeal of SGR. It would be replaced with a five-year payment plan where payment updates are pegged to practice costs. During the same period, pilot programs to test other models would also be explored.

"We will continue to work with policy-makers on both sides of the aisle to replace the broken Medicare physician payment system with one that better reflects the costs and practice of 21st century medical care, and provides stability for physicians and their Medicare patients," Rohack said.

For more:
- read the American Medical News article
- read the AMA statement on the SGR