AAFP Statement: AAFP Commends U.S. House for Swift Action on SGR Reform, Calls on U.S. Senate to Act Quickly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Thursday, December 12, 2013

Statement attributable to:
Reid Blackwelder, MD
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The American Academy of Family Physicians commends the U.S. House of Representatives for taking action to maintain health security for elderly and disabled patients by passing the Pathway for SGR Reform Act of 2013, which accompanied the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.

“The Pathway for SGR Reform Act both averts a drastic 20.1 percent Medicare physician pay cut on Jan. 1, and provides Congress with three months in which to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula permanently. When Congress returns after the holidays, it should quickly approve the measure that the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously passed today (an amended HR 2810) that repeals the SGR and includes a 0.5 percent annual update for three years. The Senate Finance Committee approved a similar measure today as well. The revised HR 2810 lays the groundwork for significant reforms that encourage new models of care such as the patient-centered medical home, simplifies and reduces the administrative burden on physicians, and gives CMS additional tools to address mis-valued physician services. Importantly, the bill provides financial support to practices as they transition away from the traditional, procedures-focused model of care that responds to illness and move toward a comprehensive, coordinated and outcomes-based model that strives to prevent health problems and improve patients’ health.

“As its name implies, the Pathway for SGR Reform Act marks the first step toward meaningful Medicare physician payment reform by postponing for three months the 20 percent cut in physician payment that the SGR would impose. The next step must be taken by the U.S. Senate in passing this short-term measure. And when Congress returns after the holidays, it must finally repeal the current Medicare payment formula and replace it with a system that encourages the modernization of health care delivery.

“The opportunity to create health security for their elderly and disabled constituents is before them. The time to seize that opportunity is now. We call on the Senate to act quickly and pass this legislation and then we ask Congress to get on with repealing the SGR.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Blackwelder, contact Leslie Champlin, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

 

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 115,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is nearly 214 million office visits each year — nearly 74 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.


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