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AAFP Joins in Call for More Equitable Medicare Payment System
Groups Want More Predictability, Stability in Payment
By News Staff
However, repealing the SGR is only half of the equation, which is why the organizations have developed a set of driving principles and core elements for moving from the SGR to a higher performing Medicare payment program.
The first principle holds that successful delivery reform is "an essential foundation for transitioning to a high-performing Medicare program that provides patient choice and meets the health care needs of a diverse patient population."
The Academy and the other organizations call on Medicare to "invest (in) and support physician infrastructure that provides the platform for delivery and payment reform." Moreover, Medicare payment updates should "reflect costs of providing services, as well as efforts and progress on quality improvements and managing costs."
In addressing the composition of a new Medicare payment system, the organizations are calling for a system that
- reflects diversity in physician practices and allows physicians to choose models that work for their unique circumstances;
- encourages incremental changes via positive incentives and rewards during a defined timetable, instead of using penalties;
- rewards physicians for savings achieved across the health care spectrum; and
- ties incentives to a physician's own actions rather than the actions of others or factors beyond their influence.
But the constant threat of SGR cuts makes it difficult for physicians to invest in redesigning their model of care, the letter says. "Each year, patient access to care is eroded because the threat of steep physician payment cuts and last-minute congressional action to avoid these cuts create an environment where new Medicare patients have difficulty securing physician appointments."
The groups call on Congress to "stop this vicious cycle now so that a transitional framework can be put in place that will provide some stability and predictability for seniors and physicians, along with needed delivery innovations."
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