Two proposals to end exaggerated time estimates for performing procedures

Congressional lawmakers have proposed changes to how certain services provided by doctors are valued, reported the Washington Post.

The changes are in two bills--one that would eliminate the long-disdained Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, and another that would create a federal oversight committee for the American Medical Association (AMA).

The AMA provides valuation estimates for a variety of procedures performed by physicians, but  the amount of time suggested for procedures such as colonoscopies has been greatly exaggerated, driving up prices, FierceHealthcare previously reported. In some instances, the time estimates were as much as 100 percent higher than the actual time required.

The proposal within the SGR repeal bill would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to collect data on how much time doctors spend performing procedures, and reduce payments for overvalued services accordingly. A House subcommittee recently approved a draft of the bill, which the Post said would essentially be a pay-for-performance proposal.

A separate bill would establish a federal advisory board to the AMA that would provide oversight for how the trade group evaluates the labors of physicians. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) told the Post this move would help eliminate what has been "a one-sided negotiation--doctors negotiating with themselves."

To learn more:
- read the Washington Post article