On Monday, March 31, the Senate approved measures previously passed in the House to stop steep cuts to Medicare payments to physicians by another temporary SGR fix, the 17th such patch. Despite gaining bipartisan traction for a permanent solution to fix the sustainable growth rate formula used to calculate Medicare reimbursement rates, Congress only agreed to kick the can down the road one more year. In other breaking news, the bill also included language to delay ICD-10 implementation for "at least one year."
AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, made the following statement:
"The American Medical Association is deeply disappointed by the Senate’s decision to enact a 17th patch to fix the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Congress has spent more taxpayer money on temporary patches than it would cost to solve the problem for good.”
“This bill perpetuates an environment of uncertainty for physicians, making it harder for them to implement new innovative systems to better coordinate care and improve quality of care for patients.
"Remarkable progress was made this past year in reaching a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on policy to repeal the SGR, and the AMA encourages Congress to continue its work and resolve outstanding issues. On behalf of Medicare patients and physicians across the country, it is critical that we achieve permanent Medicare physician payment reform.
“We will continue our efforts to secure a permanent SGR repeal this year.”
TMA Comments on ICD-10 Delay
The U.S. Senate voted on March 31, 2014 to delay the implementation of ICD-10 until October 1, 2015, pending President Obama’s signature.
For the past three years, TMA has provided education and other resources to help our members fully prepare for the October 2014 deadline. Practices that were on track to successfully transition are now ahead of the curve. For others, this latest delay means more time to prepare.
TMA expects all practices in the state to incur additional testing timelines and costs. We will communicate related updates as they are available.
We encourage physicians to continue improving clinical documentation to not only transition into ICD-10, but also meet new requirements for value-based reimbursement, ACOs and other emerging payment models. TMA will continue supporting Tennessee’s medical practices in these efforts through education, legislative advocacy, special events and other programs.