Docs offer payment reform ideas to Congressional committee

Major trade groups representing physicians nationwide made presentations to a House subcommittee on Thursday with their suggestions for fixing the current Sustainable Growth System rate for Medicare payments, reports the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog.

All of the participants--the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Surgeons--agreed that the current SGR formula needs to be repealed. Introduced in the mid-1990s, the formula has mostly been abandoned in recent years for a series of last-minute fixes authorized by Congress.

AMA suggested implementing "a five-year period of stable Medicare physician payments that keep pace with the growth in medical practice costs," according to its prepared remarks.

AAFP, meanwhile, suggested that primary-care physicians receive higher payments for care than other specialties, and an increase in the primary care incentives included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

ACS suggested a five-year transition period where reimbursement growth would vary by service line, then set a "realistic budget baseline" for future payment increases.

For more:
- read the Wall Street Journal Health Blog post
- check out this MedPage Today article