Specialty physicians balk at SGR repeal proposal

Specialty physician organizations want permanent changes to Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula but do not want to endure any cuts to their payments, reports The Hill's Healthwatch.

Specialty doctors hit hard by any changes to SGR could affect hospitals, which recruit such physicians to perform surgery, operate radiology departments, and perform other integral functions.

The sound of alarm has been most loud by the Alliance of Specialty Medicine.

"Why should doctors and patients who have suffered under this policy for years be required to pay so heavily for its repeal, particularly in light of the fact that physicians did not cause the problems with the flawed SGR formula in the first place?" the group demanded in a letter to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which is mulling alternatives to SGR.

A proposal currently being floated byMedPAC would be to repeal SGR and instead replace it with a couple of years of payment cuts, followed by freezes. Under that proposal, specialists would see much steeper cuts than generalists--18 percent over three years--followed by a seven-year payment freeze.

For more:
- check out The Hill's Healthwatch article
- read more on the MedPAC proposals