Senate adjourns with fate of SGR repeal uncertain, AMA voices displeasure

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Senate adjourns with fate of SGR repeal uncertain, AMA voices displeasure

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | March 27, 2015
The Senate has elected to adjourn for two weeks instead of vote on the SGR repeal legislation which was passed by an overwhelming majority in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday.

The legislation is designed to correct longstanding problems in Medicare's payment formula and lay the foundation for more value-based reimbursement.

The American Medical Association has issued a statement, credited to the organization's president, Dr. Robert M. Wah, voicing their unhappiness with the Senate's decision to wait.

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“The American Medical Association (AMA) is extremely disappointed that the U.S. Senate did not vote on the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) before leaving for recess today. Their failure to act leaves physicians facing a devastating 21 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements when the current Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) payment patch expires on March 31.

“The bill, which was overwhelmingly passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, eliminates the flawed SGR formula that all agree was a bad idea in the first place and advances innovative delivery and payment models that will help improve care quality, health outcomes, and lower costs. The policy also assures access to care for children, low-income individuals and families by extending funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers.

“Physicians are always working to provide the highest quality of care for their patients and the bipartisan bill passed by the House provides a clear pathway for them to do that. We urge the Senate to immediately address this issue upon their return and once-and-for-all lay this destructive issue to rest by building the stable and sustainable Medicare program that our nation’s patients and physicians need and deserve.”

Although the patch expires on March 31st, it does not appear that the drastic pay cuts would be implemented, provided the Senate acted quickly to pass the legislation when they convene.

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