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As AAFP Rallies Members, Senate Considers Yearlong SGR Patch
By News Staff
In its call to action to members, the AAFP explained that House and Senate leaders are negotiating a yearlong extension of the payment rate in an effort to provide time for the physician community and Congress to establish a three- to five-year SGR patch that could include a positive differential payment for primary care physicians.
According to the Action Alert, even if AAFP members have sent letters to their congressional representatives before, it is important to do so again. "Congress needs to hear support for a 12-month extension from family physicians," says the Academy.
Congress passed a one-month Medicare payment extension in late November that temporarily blocked a 23 percent payment reduction scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1. Without congressional intervention, physicians will face a reduction of nearly 25 percent on Jan. 1.
The legislation before the Senate contains other measures, as well, including a provision that addresses the Medicare work geographic adjustment floor. According to current law, the Medicare fee schedule is adjusted geographically for three factors -- physician work, practice expense and medical malpractice insurance -- to reflect differences in the cost of resources needed to produce physician services. The provision in the bill would extend the existing floor on the physician work index through Dec. 31, 2011, according to a bill summary (3-page PDF; About PDFs) released by the Senate Finance Committee.
The total cost of the legislation is estimated to be $19.2 billion during the next 10 years. The cost primarily will be financed by changes in the health care reform law that would recoup more money from consumers who purchase insurance through state-based health insurance exchanges starting in 2014.
Congress Approves One-month Medicare Payment Patch
Academy Calls for Longer Reprieve
Congress Moves Closer to Passing Medicare Payment Legislation
House Leader Promises Vote By End of Month
AAFP Launches Grass-roots Campaign to Fix Medicare Payment System
Members Urged to Contact Congress About Need for Payment Reform
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