U.S. House Makes History, Votes to Repeal Medicare SGR Payment Formula

IPhoto by wallyg, via flickrn a historic move, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday in favor of repealing the flawed Medicare physician payment formula by a vote of 392-37. All Massachusetts members voted in favor of the bill.

The $200 billion package, widely embraced by both political parties, calls for a permanent repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate, or SGR, that has threatened physicians with double-digit reimbursement cuts 17 times over the past decade.

MMS President Richard Pieters, MD, applauded the House’s action, calling it critical to re-establishing a stable environment for physicians and more than 1 million Massachusetts seniors who depend on Medicare.

“We thank the lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who came together on behalf of the nation’s seniors and military families who depend on Medicare and their doctors to stay well,” said Dr. Pieters.

“Thank you to the tens of thousands of physicians and patients who heeded our calls to contact their representative in Congress this week. Your voices were heard,” he said.

The Senate will not consider the measure until it returns from its Easter recess in mid-April. If it is successful there, President Obama has indicated he will sign the measure into law.

The most recent Medicare payment patch expires March 31. The next day, a 21 percent cut is scheduled to take effect. However, CMS doesn’t process claims until two weeks after date of service, so if the Senate acts quickly enough, physicians’ first payments for services provided after April 1 will not reflect the 21 percent cut.

The MMS will update its website and social media channels frequently with news of the bill’s continued progress through the Senate.  Read more on the MMS website about the effort to repeal the SGR.

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