MedPAC considers replacing SGR

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is considering recommendations that would eliminate the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician payments and replace it with regularly scheduled updates, reports AHA News Now.

Physicians are currently facing a 29.4 percent reduction in payments in early 2012. In its place, MedPac is examining a plan that would freeze current rates in place for primary care and reduce payments for other services by an overall 5.9 percent over the next three years, followed by another rate freeze for seven years. That would translate to $200 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next decade.

The biggest cuts would come from Medicare Part D, post-acute care facilities, and overall benefit reductions to Medicare enrollees, notes Healthcare Finance News.

The proposal has been criticized by some specialty physician organizations.

"Unfortunately, while the MedPAC recommendations being considered do eliminate the SGR, they fail to meet the goal of quality and further jeopardize access to care," said a statement issued by the American College of Surgeons. "The recommendations do not value the role all physicians have in the continuum of care and would have a devastating impact on access to surgical care."

For more:
- check out the proposal
- here's the AHA News Now article
- read the Healthcare Finance News article

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